Monday, March 19, 2007

What is in 2007's Budget?

There used to be a time, it seems now a long long time ago, when what was in the budget was a closely guarded secret, only to be revealed on the day of the budget and before parliament first.

There were, and indeed are, good reasons for this. The budget contains much in the way of sensitive information. What is in the budge can and probably will change peoples behaviour. What is more it is a key bill that affects taxes and must be passed by parliament each year. Propriety dictates that parliament ought to hear of it first.

In fact budget secrecy used to be so important in pre New Labour days that Chancellors have been known to resign over leaks. Not a bit of it now. It is all over the press.

For example:

The Times has this article about how Gordon Brown is going to ratchet up the road tax on the most polluting cars registered since last April, the Sun carries a similar story. The Guardian has this article on how houses that generate more environmentally friendly electricity will not have to pay income tax on their profits when they sell it back to the national grid.

I am not going to comment on the policies themselves at this stage, but I find it remarkable that they have been leaked ahead of the budget, in essence to try to steal David Cameron's green clothes.


Anonymous said...

It's the same old "news management" strategy, isn't it? The delightful thing is that they can feed the press all these stories (which the press is ridiculously grateful for) and they don't have to worry about the details. We can't judge for ourselves (yet) whether Gordon really will do what is claimed, because it hasn't been formally announced and we don't have the details, so they essentially get a free-ride as it is hard to make any substantive criticism.

What I really don't like about it is the feeling that I am being "managed" and "manipulated" and basically not treated like a grown up. I'm also depressingly certain that it is a way of operating that all of the three main parties will embrace as "professional" and "necessary in today's media environment", etc, etc.

The truth-bending way in which the Tories have carped on about "stealth" taxes has been pretty unedifying. Almost as bad as the infamous double/triple counting of the increases in health funding in Blair's first term.

Benedict White said...

Timothy, it still irritates me that the budget is leaked in parts!