Sunday, 9 March 2008

Darling's first budget

Alastair Darling is going to revive the use of the traditional red box for his budget rather than the one used by Gordon Brown that was made for him by apprentices in his constituency. The box and Darling's lack of charisma should be appropriate for a 'steady as she goes' budget.

Alcohol taxes can be expected to rise in an effort to tackle 'binge drinking'. There will be some further tweaking of green taxes, but nothing too drastic to avoid disturbing the economy.

The interesting uncertainty surrounds rumours that National Insurance payments will be increased for higher rate taxpayers by 1p with perhaps a 2p increase for those earning over £100,000. This would be an increase in income tax in all but name. Moreover, a 2p increase for those over £100,000 would be a redistributive measure that would be taken under a Blair Government but would cement Darling's reputation with Labour backbenchers.

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