It might not be the most exciting date in your diary but this year’s Budget speech is fast approaching. The Chancellor Alistair Darling will take the despatch box next Wednesday lunchtime and, I don’t know about you, but I’ll certainly be tuning in to hear what he’s got to say. Usually the Budget is in March, but with the recession unusually it’s been delayed by a month.
Frankly, in recent years the Budget speech has been pretty boring fare all round. Mostly the Government trots out measures that have previously been announced elsewhere. Journalists around the country listen intently to it and then scrabble around desperately trying to find anything interesting to write about it. But something tells me this year’s speech might be slightly more watchable.
We’ve had a grim 12 months since last year’s Budget and people will be looking to the Government to up its game and introduce more measures aimed at boosting the economy and struggling small businesses, as well as helping individuals who have lost their jobs and families finding it tough to cope in the downturn.
Darling is expected to take the scissors to his rather optimistic forecasts of a decline in UK economic growth of 1 per cent, cut from his previous forecasts of 2 per cent growth, as economists predict a decline of between 3 to 3.8 per cent this year. Meanwhile borrowing is at levels not seen since World War Two and even the Bank of England Governor Mervyn King has publically come out and said that more government borrowing wouldn’t be ideal. Unemployment is past the 2 million mark and the Chancellor will be expected to introduce more measures aimed at getting people back to work. Some commentators suggest work placement schemes for workers facing redundancy, tax breaks on re-training for jobseekers and corporation tax relief for companies taking on new workers would be a good place to start.
But my question is this – what would you like to see from the Budget? The Government obviously has a lot on its plate in terms of sorting out the ailing economy. But what do you think would make a major difference to the financial state of the nation? KPMG say they expect the Government to introduce some small tax reductions to lessen the effects of the recession on individual taxpayers. What would you do if you were in the Chancellor’s shoes? Do you think Darling should actually raise some taxes further – he’s already introduced a 45p top tax rate and plans to hike National Insurance payments – or would this be counter productive? Should he suspend tax on savings to help borrowers, which unfortunately seems unlikely? Are you concerned about how much the Government is borrowing?
And how should Darling help the business community? Do you think the cut in VAT to 15 per cent has helped boost retail spending? Should there be changes to the corporation tax loss system to help businesses survive the recession? And what of the housing market? What measures would you introduce to reinvigorate housing sales?
What would be in your Budget 2009 if you were Chancellor of the Exchequer? Leave a message and let me know.
|StumbleUpon||Technorati||Yahoo! My Web|