Categorized | matt's blog

Budget 2013 – is there a point?

On the 20th March 2013, a man we call “The Chancellor” will pop into work with a rather poorly briefcase and speak for about two hours. The main subjects will be where they will spend the money we haven’t given them yet … and other stories. Have a think back and see if you can remember a single interesting or necessary budget since the beginning of the century?

Yes, cigarettes will probably go up and beer will have some pence added to it. Pensioners might see a bit of cash coming their way and I am certain there will be special mention for a single-issue focus group, somewhere in the country.  You can guarantee a new fund will be announced to sort out a particular problem that nobody knew existed, but it’s very very important. Headline grabbers such as “£250m extra” and “an overall increase in real terms” will be catapulted into the speech in the same way that second hand car dealers use words like “sought after model” and “rare colour”.

But what will really change? Nothing.

It’s all a lot of hot air about very little. The last really interesting budget was 1999 (IR35) and that was in a century that also saw flared trousers, so its validity is questionable. Below are the highlights of the last 12 years and it is a pretty short list.

2000 – Road tax scrapped on Tractors. (thank goodness for that).

2001 – VAT is lowered on church repairs.  (who thinks these things up??)

2002 – Bingo is now tax exempt (more savings for farmers and churchgoers then)

2005 – You can now get VAT refunded completely for repairs to churches and religious buildings. But not Bingo halls apparently.

2007 – 10p starting tax rate is scrapped.

2010 – VAT goes up to 20%

That is it I’m afraid. 12 years of putting things up in price by a miniscule fraction and lowering other things by the same miniscule fraction. Keep an eye out for any changes you could not have predicted yourself. If you see a headline next Thursday that states “Chancellor scraps all taxes and says we must all live within our means”, then feel free to let me know how wrong I was.

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