The Great Debate UK

Pre-Budget Report: More will need to be done


Brendan Barber is General Secretary of the TUC. Any views expressed are his own.Brendan Barber

The Chancellor was right to inject this extra money into the economy. We welcome the significant extra cash that he has put into the pockets of low and medium paid workers, and the extra help for pensioners. The new Ofgem probe into energy prices has the potential to reduce fuel bills if pursued with vigour.

It is absolutely right that the top one per cent, who have done so well in recent years, should pick up the bigger part of the bill for today’s boost. Indeed the Chancellor could have gone further. Cracking down on tax avoidance through new minimum tax rates on those earning more than £100,000 would probably make the planned National Insurance increases unnecessary.

Business has also received real assistance through investment in infrastructure, new credit for smaller firms nd help for housing which will bring some relief to the heavily depressed construction sector. The Lending Panel may help get credit flowing again.

The PBR has a definite green tinge, with help for insulation projects, fewer concessions on fuel and road tax than many expected and commitments on low-carbon energy. But there is much greater potential to create jobs and prosperity through embracing a low-carbon future than we saw today.

from UK News:

A profound shift in party politics

David Cameron's decision to ditch a major Conservative pledge to match Labour spending plans pound for pound was hailed by commentators as an important step in the politics of the recession, opening up a clear gulf between the two main parties' economic policies but exposing the Tories to considerable risk.

Labour is expected to cut taxes, accelerate public spending and announce more borrowing in Monday's pre-budget report. Now their supporters can revive the spectre of "Tory cuts" to funding for schools and hospitals which helped the Conservatives lose the last two elections.