Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Budget Criticisms Are “Simply Making the Case For Conservatism”

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been freed from the burden of collective responsibility and is back to doing what he does best: criticising government from the backbenches. Speaking to Krishnan Guru-Murthy on Channel 4 News last night, the former Business Secretary spoke out against fiscal drag and the absence of commitments on efficiency reforms. He added he was “simply making the case for conservatism”.

Unsurprisingly, Krishnan then asked about the prospect of re-joining the EU, citing OBR figures on the impact of Brexit. Jacob rightly pointed out that economic forecasts are often inaccurate, before saying Krishnan was “Just like Nicola Sturgeon” for seeking to go back on referendum results. He then reminded Krishnan of his expletive antics and commended the fact he made an apology. Krishnan was able to get through this interview without resorting to abuse. Clearly his time off has done wonders for his temperament.

Since last night Jeremy Hunt did have time to react to criticism from the right. Speaking to Sky News this morning Hunt said:

“There is nothing conservative about spending money you haven’t got. There is nothing conservative about not tackling inflation. There is nothing conservative about ducking difficult decisions… and that’s why this is a very conservative package”

If he says so…

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Autumn Statement / Budget Switcheroo Explained

Philip Hammond woke everyone up when he said this was his first Autumn statement but it would also be his last… “Mr Speaker, I am abolishing the Autumn Statement!” The Autumn statement will now be in Spring and will be a response to the OBR rather than an opportunity to announce new policies, the Budget will be moved to the Autumn. Less pulling out rabbits, more moving the hats…

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Minister Slammed Letting Fees Ban Just 8 Weeks Ago

The big Autumn statement announcement pre-briefed to today’s papers is that the government is banning letting fees. This is yet another u-turn by Theresa May – just 8 weeks ago her housing minister Gavin Barwell publicly dismissed the proposal as a “bad idea”. Such a bad idea that May herself voted against it in 2014, and the Tories voted the same policy down again in 2013. Kate Andrews from the Institute for Economic Affairs says:

“The Chancellor can come in and not have to commit any of his own spending to do something that seems like it’s trying to help those who are just managing. But of course this is him skirting around the issue of the housing crisis altogether… Politicians will implement the dumbest policies to avoid actually addressing the issue.”

As the National Landlords Association explains, tenants will still foot the bill:

“Philip Hammond lacks any understanding of how the sector works. Agents will have no other option than to shift the fees on to landlords, but adding to landlords’ costs will only push more towards increasing rents.”

Yet another Miliband policy gimmick pinched from Labour’s 2015 manifesto. The politics make sense, the papers have written it up kindly, but even the minister knows the policy is a dud.

UPDATE: Barwell speaks:

“It is the nature of the job that you have to defend current policy even when you’re working to change it.”

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Autumn Statement Panned on Inside Pages

Look only at the front pages and you would think Osborne’s Autumn Statement had been met with almost universal approval. Delve inside and the analysis is very different. The Telegraph’s business team in particular are scathing, with Ambrose Evans-Pritchard calling for “a change of course”:

“For sheer brass, it is hard to beat the mellifluous assertions of the Chancellor. “We do not shy away from the problems that remain unresolved in the British economy,” he began. From there George Osborne escalated to an outlandish claim. “Out of the red and into the black for the first time in a generation, a country that inspires confidence around the world because it seeks to live within its means.” This comes a day after Société Générale said the UK “cannot compete”, is on an “unsustainable” course and has carried out “zero structural reform” – a view held to varying degrees by a great number of economists around the world. Britain has a current account deficit of 5.2pc of GDP, in spite of the post-Lehman devaluation. It is the worst of any major country, and just about the worst in our peacetime history. The Office for Budget Responsibility has now raised its estimate of the likely deficit by 1.5pc of GDP annually to 2018. It is becoming entrenched. This is prima facie evidence that we are not in fact living within our means.”

Allister Heath meanwhile condemns the new wealth tax on homes:

“this improvement [to stamp duty] has been ruined by the fact that George Osborne has conceded the philosophical ground to the property and wealth-hating Left and turned stamp duty into a horrendously graduated tax. People with more expensive homes will pay cripplingly large amounts to the Exchequer for the privilege of buying a home, a move which is bad on all levels. The top marginal tax rate will hit 12pc; time and again, it seems, the Government adopts Labour or Scottish National Party policies. For decades, property transactions were rightly barely taxed; now they are a milch cow.”

And Jeremy Warner isn’t exactly impressed:

“Listening to the Chancellor’s statement, the overriding sense was of déjà vu. Rewind five years, and almost exactly the same things were being said. There was George Osborne announcing plans to close the Budget deficit within the five year lifespan of a single parliament. There was his then Labour opponent, Alistair Darling, saying it couldn’t be done, would send unemployment rocketing, would destroy the fabric of society, and to boot would undermine growth and therefore prove self-defeating. And here we are again today, listening to much the same script, only with the positions reversed; Mr Osborne has had nearly five years as Chancellor, and Labour is in opposition. It scarcely needs saying that in terms of what the Government said it would do back then, it has failed.”

The Sun’s Pol Ed has a pop:

“It’s also quite a left wing move… what effect will all this have on economy with a new housing and mortgage debt bubble now possible, you may well ask? Well that’s a problem for after the election, of course.”

As does their City editor:

“For the moment George is still borrowing tens of billions a year to make ends meet. The Government can borrow more easily than families because it sets its own interest rates. But this is still a colossal bet that we will all, somehow, get much richer soon, and be able to pay the debt back. The Chancellor’s failure to cut the deficit as much as he hoped is a black mark against him. Cute ideas about a “Google tax” or a cut to stamp duty on cheaper houses can’t disguise that.”

Osborne will take the splashes, but will hope no one reads too closely inside…

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In Numbers: Stamp Duty Savings Explained

bands

Read the Autumn Statement in full here.

Tories claiming savings for 98% of buyers. 

UPDATE: People seem happy:

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Everything You Need to Know About the Autumn Statement

growthstatement

Helpfully compiled by the BBC.
mdi-timer 3 December 2014 @ 13:24 3 Dec 2014 @ 13:24 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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