Sunday, 23 March 2014

Budget Does Nothing for England

Predictably the Coalition Budget does nothing at all for England...apart from sneakily undermining yet more of our erstwhile freedoms. 
      Osborne has made not the feeblest gesture to rectify the glaring injustice of the Barnett Formula, whereby English tax-payers have to subsidize the residents of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. He has not attempted to remedy the shocking inequity of university tuition fees reaching £9,000 per year in England...but being free in Scotland. He has done nothing to address the grievance that English people have to pay for medicines, while Scottish people get them free, and there are dozens of new life-saving drugs that are only available on the NHS in Scotland, not to the English people who are paying for them.
      In short, Osborne's budget was bullshit. What has it done? Made the pointless gesture of offering those who get private pensions the option of pocketing their entire "pot" at one go. But what if they then invest it badly and go broke? Or spend it all and end up claiming credits from social security? And what if the pension provider is unable to find the lump sum, and would rather continue to pay out annually as originally agreed?
      Most worrying of all, the budget smuggled in a devious little clause that gives the HMRC hitherto unprecedented powers to extract funds directly from the bank account of a British citizen. If they decide that you owe it, they are now just going to deduct it, treating us all as criminals. That is a significant loss of freedom. If in the past a citizen refused to pay, he or she was entitled to a court hearing and would in the end be treated as a criminal  - but a bank account was the property of the depositor. Now, without any mandate from the voters, without any announcement at the last General Election and without any explanation of why it is necessary. ‘“The Government will modernise and strengthen HMRC’s debt collection powers to recover financial assets from the bank accounts of debtors who owe over £1,000 of tax.

Modernise? No just grab more power like a dictatorship.

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