A large deficit which needs cutting and this needs decisive action. This was the gist of the message from George Osborne, and generally from the Coalition government. Although there is nothing confirmed in terms of what to expect, it is thought that there will be a proposal to ease National Insurance for new businesses. He said:
“And so we’ve got to deal with that [the country in Europe with the largest budget deficit of any major economy]. In that sense it’s an unavoidable Budget, but what I’m determined to do is to make sure that the measures are tough but they’re also fair and that we’re all in this together and that, as a country, we take the steps necessary to actually provide the prosperity for the future.”
We already know that there are plans in place to increase capital gains tax from 18% to nearer 40%, but beyond that, little is known. There are concerns that this policy may actually cost the government more in tax revenue than it will raise. Other policies we might expect include a rise in VAT, and a slashed spending budget for pensions. These spending cuts and tax rises will help Osborne to eliminate the structural deficit in current spending by 2015, when the Coalitions’ current term comes to an end. The success of the Coalition’s policies and their ability to reduce the deficit without causing the economy to fall back into recession will be crucial in determining whether the current term is the only term.
Budget 2010: Britain on ‘road to ruin’ without cuts (including video) BBC News (20/6/10)
Where could spending axe fall? BBC News (9/6/10)
George Osborne says emergency budget cuts will be ‘tough but fair’ Guardian, Larry Elliott, Toby Helm, Anushka Asthana and Maev Kennedy (20/6/10)
Budget 2010: capital gains tax Telegraph (20/6/10)
What’s the Chancellor planning to take away in reverse Christmas budget Independent, Alison Shepherd and Julian Knight (20/6/10)
Public borrowing at a peak, says ONS, but tough budget awaits Independent, Sean O’Grady (20/6/10)
A bloodbath none was prepared for Financial Times, Martin Wolf (22/6/10)
- To what extent is it necessary to cut the budget deficit now and not delay it until the recovery is more secured?
- How will easing National Insurance for small businesses affect the economy?
- If capital gains tax goes up, why is there concern that this could actually cost the government? How is this possible?
- The Lib Dems will oppose any increase in VAT, as they argue it is a regressive tax. What does this mean?
- How will the report by the Office for Budget Responsibility have affected Osborne’s emergency budget?
- What is the structural budget deficit? Illustrate it on a diagram.
Labour’s Chancellor, Alistair Darling, delivered his last budget on the 24th March 2010. However, with the new Coalition government planning to make more substantial cuts and with George Osborne and other ministers claiming to find ‘black holes’ in the budgets left by Labour, an emergency budget will take place on the 22nd June 2010. The Coalition government has agreed to make £6 billion of spending cuts in the current year in a bid to reduce the UK’s substantial budget deficit, which stands at nearly 12% of GDP. Vince Cable told the Times:
I fear that a lot of bad news about the public finances has been hidden and stored up for the new government. The skeletons are starting to fall out of the cupboard.
There are plans to reform capital gains tax, possibly increase VAT to 20% and remove tax credits from some middle-income families. In Alistair Darling’s budget, it was middle-income families who were among the ‘losers’, with tax rises of around £19 billion, and it looks as though middle-income families may be hit again. Throughout the election all parties pledged to continue to help the poorest families, but there appears to be a lot of uncertainty ahead for middle-income families. They are likely to face reduced benefits and higher taxes as the Coalition government tackles the £163 billion deficit.
Despite critics of spending cuts arguing that it could cause a double-dip recession, the government is confident that cutting spending now is the right thing to do. As Osborne told GMTV:
I am pretty clear that the advice from the Governor of the Bank of England was that [cutting spending now] was a sensible thing to do, and if there is waste in Government that people at home are paying for with their taxes, let’s start tackling that now.
Chancellor launches audit of government spending Independent, Andrew Woodcock (17/5/10)
Osborne to give details of £6bn spending cuts next week (including video) BBC News (17/5/10)
Savings cuts to ‘hit middle class families’ BBC News (15/5/10)
Osborne to deliver emergency budget on June 22nd Times Online, Susan Thompson (17/5/10)
David Cameron declares war on public sector pay Telegraph, Rosa Prince (16/5/10)
All eyes on the emergency Budget Financial Times, Matthew Vincent (14/5/10)
Tax rises likely under Coaliation government, says Institute of Fiscal Studies Telegraph, Edmund Conway (13/5/10)
- What will be the likely impact on middle-income families if proposed spending cuts go ahead? How might this affect the recovery?
- What are the arguments for a) cutting spending now and b) cutting spending later?
- In the future, the Coalition government plans to limit bonus payments. How might this policy affect jobs and recruitment?
- What is the likely impact of the future increase in personal tax allowance? Who will it benefit the most?
- How are the proposals for corporation tax and capital gains tax likely to affect the economic recovery?
- Is a rise in VAT a good policy? Who will it affect the most? Will it reduce consumption and hence aggregate demand or is it likely simply to raise tax revenue? (Hint: Think about the type of tax that VAT is.)