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The Tory Budget, Part 1

February 2, 2010

Part 1 – Research

For some time now, I’ve been watching the ongoing row between the UK political parties over how much to spend on x and y sections of the Budget, how much to raise or lower taxes, and how to cut the massive debts and deficits we now have. These rows have been going on for some time, and there is a lot of finger-pointing about being vague and not going into enough detail, which is rather ironic coming from politicians, I thought that was their job! (predictable joke is predictable)

So, in the interests of the people (or at least, myself), I have decided to gather as much information as possible to compare these budgets, and so I ask you to post here any helpful things you can find. If I was going to be fair, I would look at all three main parties in detail, at least, but I (being liberal) think the Lib Dem’s financial policies look fairly sound, and the Labour Pre-Budget Report covers everything for them, so I can focus my political antipathy at the Conseratives.

So, here is what I have found so far on what the Tories want to do with our cash should the country elect them in May – add anything else you find into the comments section, and don’t worry about finding exact figures, I’ll be looking them up and adding them all together for a summary post in the next week or so.

– Eliminate ‘a large part’ of the deficit (no specifics, but they said it’s more than Labour’s ‘halve it in 4 years’)
– Potentially raising taxes (this means Income Tax, National Insurance and VAT, and given their opinion on taxing the rich, any increases will be the same across the board)
– LOWERING commercial taxes (yes, you read that correctly. Apparently this is vital to the growth of the economy, and doesn’t at all contradict the above point)
– Improving the rail network for high-speed trains (wow, that doesn’t sound expensive at all…)
– Reducing carbon emissions and increasing support for green technology (including up to £6500 to improve your house with green improvements, and improving the National Grid)
– Increasing spending for schools to pay ‘good’ teachers more, and wiping out student loans of graduate trainees with ‘good’ degrees
– Cutting support for teacher trainees with low grades/’poor’ degrees (please do include things they are cutting as well as increased spending, I may not like the Tories but I want this amateur study to be as accurate as possible)
– Overhauling the education system and the National Curriculum at most levels, and funding ~50,000 new school places, 10,000 new university places and 100,000 new apprenticeships a year in the next four years
– Not cutting any funding to the NHS (I assume this means going ahead with their expensive and bloated new centralised computer system)
– Increasing exports in general, but specifically mentioned was increasing exports in the Arms and Defence sector (I am not making this up, it’s all coming straight from their website…)
– Replacing Trident and maintaining the UK nuclear deterrent programme
– Scrapping some allowances and subsidies for MPs, reducing by 5% then freezing ministerial wages for the next four years, and reducing MP numbers by 10%
– Freezing public sector pay for all earning over £18,000 in 2011, and capping public sector pensions to £50,000 a year
– Raising the Inheritance Tax threshold to £1,000,000 (apparently, the majority of families have homes that are valued at over £500,000, even though the average house price is £162,000, and at the peak of the house price boom was £187,000)
– Scrapping Stamp Duty for first-time buyers on houses up to £250,000 (this is actually good for me personally, but bad for the economy)
– Aiming to spend 0.7% of national income on international aid
– Increasing duty on strong beer, cider and alcopops, but not ‘the everyday pint’

Okay, that took me longer than expected, I ended up rooting through the Tory manifesto when I was originally only going to check the BBC news stories. Ah well. If there’s anything you think I’ve missed, let me know so I can add it and start trying to put some numbers to these pledges.

I’d also like to say that there were some rather unpleasant policies mentioned in their manifesto, but it would take me some time to go over them, and they don’t have anything to do with their Budget, so I will leave them for now. Perhaps I will go over them another time, when I’m feeling more socialistic and bitter about UK politics.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Paul Skinner permalink
    February 3, 2010 12:43 am

    Doing this, too: which seems a fair idea.

    I *completely* agree with their inheritance tax idea though. Taxing death is just ridiculous.

  2. knightofthedropdowntable permalink*
    February 3, 2010 10:20 am

    They want to improve the broadband network too, yes, but I believe they want to use the BBC License Fee to do this, so it won’t come out of the budget.

    I do find it hard to sympathise with people who want to raise the inheritance tax threshold, it is really that unfair that you start getting taxed if you get more than £500,000? Are they trying to tell me that £500,000 is not already enough money to receive? My current share of our inheritence is worth ~£500, and I will be extremely happy to receive that much…

  3. Seamus permalink
    February 3, 2010 6:35 pm

    And getting rich by being related to someone isn’t ridiculous?

  4. Paul Skinner permalink
    February 3, 2010 8:46 pm

    So you’re happy that you will work your entire life, pay tax on those earnings, pay tax on your savings, pay council tax, you’re even taxed on your pension under certain conditions, and finally die and then get 40% tax on any money over £325,000 as it stands now? That means £70,000 of a £500,000 inheritance is taken in tax as it currently stands.

    Now I’m not arguing that paying tax during your lifetime is wrong, or that they’re asking too much now, but taxing your death as well? You’ve worked your whole life in order to have some inheritance money to pass on, and even that isn’t immune.

    If this tax were applied to the amount each person named gets (rather than the total left by the dead person) I’d have less of a problem with it. Even if you consider it a case of semantics I’d rather the tax was applied on the income a person receives rather than the outgoing of the deceased person.

    One last point: large mansions that are opened to the public such as Blake Hall near me suffer enormously from inheritance tax. The house *had* been in the family for the best part of 200 years, but due to inheritance tax this is now held in trust. The family have done *so* much for the surrounding area including building a school and letting out farmland yet still their family aren’t rewarded.

    Also, to Seamus, you don’t have to be related to inherit. Surely your parents put you in the will because that’s their wish, presumably because you’ve treated them well during their lifetime. That’s entirely their decision.

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