Greetings again folks and it’s time for another journey into the mind of a man in transition. The past two weeks have been a busy fortnight indeed. The hospital where I work continues to battle financial targets as well as unobtainable goals to which fines are put in place for their failure. A frustrating circle is then created which only serves to cripple and torture the already fragile morale of a National Health Service. But my rage about work should be kept in check for now for there are now less than thirty days until my big birthday and to show just how ‘grown up’ I am getting, in the next month I am going to see WWE Live in Nottingham for my birthday present from my girlfriend, I am also having some of my friends round for a Wrestlemania party and I am going to a stag party in Bristol where I endeavour to drink too much and act like a teenager. So as I enter my fourth decade on the planet, I intend to act like a teenager… and ultimately regret it – and love it – for weeks to come.
So this week is Budget Week. The Budget for those of you who aren’t familiar with UK politics is where our Chancellor of the Exchequer (the politician who holds the purse strings to our nation’s economy) announces the budget for the following year. This covers everything financially in our country and covers everything and concerns everyone. It covers things ranging from income tax rates, stamp duty, pensions, borrowing rates all the way to comparatively minor things such as tax on petrol, cigarettes and alcohol. This is a guideline for the coming year and is a way of ensuring that the nation’s economy is budgeted for the year.
This budget in particular though is one of great interest as it falls in an election year. It is a way of the government generating a little interest and popularity so expect the Budget to be incredibly generous and to be a way of garnering popularity from the working class so expect duty on alcohol and cigarettes to either remain unchanged or go down slightly.
The Telegraph has been reporting on predicted Budget plans. I’d like to lay them out and briefly discuss each of the key factors and the impact on the voting public.
The Chancellor is supposed to be proposing a ‘Google Tax’ for multi-national companies who have been avoiding paying tax in this country which has been a hot button for a few years and for many people, seeing companies such as Google and Starbucks paying a nominal amount of tax through constructive accounting is one that irks hard-working Britons. There is also an idea of raising the tax threshold on which you are taxed from £10,000 to £11,000. This would put money in every working person’s pocket and would again be appealing. Taxing the rich and giving back to the hard-working. All positive so far…
It is thought that the Chancellor George Osborne intends to put £16billion into public spending; another great way of rousing public support from workers in the public sector.
The Chancellor will be announcing a welfare cap as he sets out more than £12billion in benefits cuts. Osborne will also lay out plans to restrict child benefit to three children for new claimants. People under 25 could lose the right to housing and unemployment benefits if they refuse offers of work, training or education. The majority of the voting public are in gainful employment, a majority of the voting public are also sick of seeing stories of people who have made a healthy career off of claiming benefits. Another positive plan by the government. (Are you seeing a pattern emerging?)
So a lot of positive promises, a lot of changes that can only benefit a lot of people right? So what can I as a voter expect to see from all of these big changes?
Well everybody can expect nothing. Because the legislation, the discussions and the decisions take so long to be passed that the election will be upon us and the Budget will be forgotten. It’s a very clever game by the government and one that will ultimately sway a few voters but one that will do one of two things.
1. It will convince a number of voters into voting for the Conservatives simply by them buying into the dreams lined out by this Budget.
2. They will rush through the legislation, not worry about the financial deficit created and leave the incoming party with a mountain of financial difficulty.
From what I have read, it will all hinge on opinion polls in the build-up to Election Day so whatever happens; it will make the eventual victor all the more pleased with themselves.
As for how it will affect my vote, it will be down to who protects the public sectors the most. Pensions and Welfare are not in my personal interest at this time and the tax issue will insert a fractional amount extra into my pocket. My main concern right now is job security and with further pressures constantly being put upon the NHS, it’s who will protect the institution more than anything else.
This has led me to taking an interest in the National Health Action Party. It is a party taking a keen interest in protecting the NHS. I have been spending time reading up on them and in the near future I will be looking into and discussing the minor parties involved in the upcoming election and what they stand for.
I was looking forward to the televised debates and am disappointed to see that it will only be a single televised debate in early April. I feel it’s a great opportunity to have the major party leaders facing off. Once you cut through the generic b-s of the places they’ve been and the people they speak to, you will see their true colours and I for one will be relishing it and I will be discussing that too as soon as I can.
For now though, this will come up hopefully just after the Budget is announced on Wednesday 18th so you can see how much of what I have written will just be utter crap!
Until next time…