Saturday, March 8, 2008

Unfunded Tax Cuts v Unfunded Spending Commitments

Yvette Cooper is spinning to all and sundry that the Tories have made £10 billion in unfunded tax reduction promises without “balancing” tax increases. She is briefing that reducing corporation tax to 27% will reduce taxes by £1.75 billion, £3.2 billion will stay in people’s pockets after the introduction of a transferable tax allowance, £3 billion will not be taxed from those getting working tax credit, £2 billion from the abolition of IHT for all but millionaires and £400 million lost to the Treasury and kept by first-time buyers after raising the stamp duty threshold.
Never mind that reducing corporation tax to 27% will still leave the rate 15% above high growth Ireland’s rate and that the extra billions in people’s pockets will be spent in the economy productively and have positive dynamic effects. Osborne has not balanced his budget plans is her central charge.

Guido wants to know about the Labour government’s unfunded spending commitments:These are the figures from the ONS, in 2003 Gordon made unfunded spending commitments of £36 billion, in 2004 £41 billion, in 2005 £38 billion, in 2006 £34 billion. This was during a time of strong economic performance when Gordon should have been paying down the national debt with budget surpluses. His prolific spending meant that he failed to balance the budget.

Last year he smashed the golden rule with £110 billion to be added to the PSBR after the nationalisation of Northern Rock plus the usual annual unfunded overspend of some £40 billion. To which we can add the off balance sheet fiddles like £725 billion of public sector pensions unfunded, not forgetting the £110 billion in payments due to companies in the next three decades under PFI and £18 billion of debt held by Network Rail and the figure is nearer £1.4 trillion, which is well over 100% of GDP. So the amount of unfunded spending commitments has now reached £1.4 trillion. Yvette Cooper is accusing George Osborne of proposing unfunded tax reductions which are small change in comparison.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Cowley Street Press Release : "Clegg Has Bottled It" On Europe

Guido just received this via email. The perfect end to a perfect week for Clegg. Well it is late on a Friday night…

Liverpool LibDem Leadership & Laundry Crisis

As is traditional with the LibDems, there is a leadership crisis at their conference. Clegg has been in office a couple of months, so it is about due. Nothing will come of it, but it will give bored hacks something to write about.

Colin Eldridge a cabinet member of the award winning* Liverpool council, runs a local laundry business. He has a contract with the Crowne Plaza conference hotel. He is urging guests to use as many towels and bathrobes as possible to boost his profits. Not very green!

*The award was for the worst run metropolitan council.

Who Hacked Lee Jasper?

Something that has been amusing Guido is that clearly the original source(s) for the Standard’s stories were email records. So who hacked Jasper’s email account? Is there a Boris secret agent in the I.T. department?

Friday Caption Contest

Catholic Church 1, Labour Whips 0

108 scientists and academics have written to The Times demanding an un-whipped free vote on the Frankenstein Bill. Unrelated, but obviously due to pressure, Geoff Hoon is now saying that Catholic MPs can follow their conscience and abstain on the Frankenstein Bill. He is not however saying they can vote against it. LibDems and Tories are being given a free vote.

Even Buskers Have Spin Doctors Nowadays

Guido got an email yesterday with a story claiming that Boris posed for a photo-op with a busker handing over a twenty pound note. When the photo-op was completed he put the twenty back in his pocket. Cheapskate!
Having not been invited to yesterday’s “Bloggers for Boris” lunch (Tories only) Guido was in the mood for a bit of Boris bashing. So Guido contacted the busker, Claire Toomey, and she gave a surprisingly carefully worded explanation.

I was busking in Croydon in November (ish) and Boris Johnson came up to me and posed in front of me for pictures. He didn’t really speak to me. When he left, a passer by came up to me and said did he give you that £20 and I said what £20? When I looked in my guitar case there was nothing there and I thought that was a bit odd.

Fantastic. Guido hunted around for the picture. Guido asked if she knew anyone who had the picture. She suggested Guido contact her PR company. A busker with a PR agent?

Anyway Guido did contact her PR. No picture. She also admits she didn’t actually see Boris proffer a £20 note either.

Claire has a nice MySpace site and an album coming out shortly which needs publicity…

UPDATE : Have now got hold of the photographer for the local paper – he says Boris threw some change in the hat – there never was any note. Ken backing bloggers are of course running with the spin

Welsh Pork Up 8.3%

The government’s preferred inflation measure (CPI) is up 2.2%. Surprise, surprise Welsh Assembly members have voted themselves an inflation smashing 8.3% pay rise. Plenty of pork for them. Other public sector workers such as nurses and policeman have been held to rate of inflation increases.

Unlike politicians they aren’t able to vote themselves a pay rise…

Gordon 2.0

Fraser Nelson in the Speccie has a 2,400 word piece on the new team around Gordon, some of whom have private-sector experience of successfully running more than a whelk stall, which is not something that can be said for the Alexanders, Milibands and Balls’.

Stephen Carter from Brunswick and Jeremy Heywood from Morgan Stanley are the new dynamic duo in downing Street according to Fraser. Jennifer Moses, an ex-Goldman Sachs managing director has come in to the big tent via the LibDem friendly think-tank CentreForum.

The Jonah effect was immediately felt. Ms Moses’ husband’s hedge fund (Peleton) won an industry award in January, she announced she was going to work for Gordon in February. Her husband loses a billion or so that month and his hedge fund is now being wound up. Hope he wasn’t listening to pillow talk giving an inside track on Gordon’s musings on mortgage backed securities…

UPDATE : As pointed out in the comments, according to yesterday’s Daily Mail

Jennifer Moses had been due begin work in her new Downing Street office in the next few days to “spice up” policies ahead of the next election. But she has pulled out over what No. 10 was today describing as a “domestic situation”.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

MP’s Wine Cellar Refit Cost £7 Million

Guido’s man close to the sommelier tells him that the state-of-the-art refit of the cellars where the MP’s wine is kept cost the taxpayers £7 million. What have the parliamentary pigs got for themselves? Gold plated troughs?

They say that parliament is the best club in London. Of course it is, the “honourable members” don’t have to pay for their membership. We pay them whatever they vote themselves. Yet we don’t even get to see what they spend it on. The best thing to put in the cellars is gunpowder…


Seen Elsewhere

#TM4PM: It’s On | Speccie
Path to Defeat More Obvious for Both Labour and Tories | Rafael Behr
It’s Boris v May | Sun
Farage is Outflanking the Tories | Guardian
Boris is Right About Grammar Schools | Conservative Women
‘Obsolete’ Cable | Speccie
Why are Tories so Upbeat? | Alex Wickham
Clear Public Interest in Newmark Sting | Mirror
Boris Invites Farage to Join Tories | Guardian
RAF Too Run Down to Fight Islamic State | Con Coughlin
Osborne’s Personal Cuts Regime | Quentin Letts


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David Cameron on political promiscuity…

“On May 7 you could go to bed with Nigel Farage and wake up with Ed Miliband. Not one bit of that works for me.”



cynic says:

Can anyone help me? I went on holiday a week ago and returned to find someone has pulled out the stake and Gordon Brown is back and acting as Prime Minister. What did I miss? Has there been a snap election?


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