Well it is admittedly not quite what I had predicted, though that certainly doesn’t mean I am pleasantly surprised. The monotonous tone of delivery that Mr Darling seems to specialise in should not distract us from what has happened in today’s pre-budgetary report.
And what has happened is that the government has clearly stuck the interests of the Labour Party well above the interests of the country. At a time when tough, painful measures were needed to secure this country’s future, the Chancellor instead gives focus to Bingo Duty and a boiler scrappage scheme. Don’t get me wrong, those may well turn out to be positive policies, but they are hardly the stuff that saves an economy.
It was certainly the things the government didn’t do that were the main problem today, and the main things amongst those were to cut expenditure and tackle the debt crisis. The Labour party has announced that it is going to increase spending even further, which has pushed up borrowing to an eye-watering £178 billion this year. Indeed their inability to reduce the amount of total government spending is just further proof that this government’s commitment to halve the deficit is shallow and can’t be trusted.
At the same time they are taxing people still more money for their failed spending projects. The increase in National Insurance contributions (which is more accurately described as the tax on jobs) is a kick in the teeth to small businesses, many of whom are still struggling.
I could go on and on and on, but I fear that if I started criticising the Labour Party’s fiscal failings in detail now, I may miss the New Year’s celebrations. But in short, this pre-budgetary report is the surrender of any pretence to fiscal responsibility the Labour party may just have been clinging on to.
Speaking in response to Mr Darling, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said ‘They have lost all moral authority to govern today’. Now I hate to disagree with Mr Osborne, but he is quite mistaken. New Labour lost the moral authority to govern a very long time ago.