Ok, don't have time to blog about the whole Budget at the moment (and obviously I'm not going to blog about the whole thing anyway, as that would be very dull indeed). So, some things can wait till later, but here are my first reactions:
- Disappointed more money couldn't be found on the child poverty front, but realise that this is a Budget about getting people into/ keeping people in work, and I suppose that has to be the absolute priority at the moment.
- Good to see a focus on making sure young people get work or training, and on the long-term unemployed; I remember the 1980s recession when some of my mates were unemployed for years after leaving school. Apparently 10% of the new jobs created for the long-term unemployed will be 'green jobs'; will try to find out more about this. What sort of jobs are they talking about? There was also the announcement of 50,000 traineeships in the social care sector; need to find out more about this too.
- Higher rate of income tax of 50p in the £ for those earning more than £150k; someone has to pay for the fiscal stimulus, and it's only right it should be those who can afford it most.
- Climate change stuff is very interesting, including an interim target of a 34% cut in emissions by 2020 and a big uplift in support for offshore wind projects (which will please the company I visited in St Philip's last week). Also announcements re carbon capture and storage, and the development of a low carbon energy and advanced green manufacturing sector in the UK. Bristol is well placed to play a leading role in this, and we have to make sure we benefit from today's announcements.
- Increase in landfill taxes by £8 per tonne on 1 April each year from 2011 to 2013; wonder what impact that will have on Bristol City Council's waste strategy? (Although I'm not quite sure it has one at the moment...
- I need to get my head round all the proposals on savings and pensions, but I'm glad action is being taken on that front. The increase in the savings disregard to £10,000 is good news for pensioners with relatively modest savings.
Well that's what caught my eye. Basically it was a 'job that needs to be done' Budget, all about taking the steps that are necessary to ameliorate the worst effects of the recession and get us out of it as soon as possible. Incidentally I thought Cameron put up a reasonably good performance today. Normally at Budget time he sits there on the Opposition frontbench looking like a puzzled potato, while Boy George and Oliver Letwin scribble frantically on his speech notes. But today he seemed a bit more on top of it, although he said absolutely nothing whatsoever about what his party would do if they were in our position.