By Ben Gelblum, TLE Correspondent @BenGelblum
What an excellent budget. As long as you are long-term employed, in a well paying job, under the age of 25, live in the South East and aren’t ill or disabled then your chum George Osborne, king of the middle class elite, has delivered an absolute corker.
Of course, that leaves a lot of people unaccounted for. The living wage (that isn’t the living wage) is one of very few concessions offered to the most vulnerable in our society who are set to be hit by vicious rounds of public sector cuts all because of a banking sector, of which they hold no sway over, bankrupted the country and walked away scot-free.
So we thought we would bring in an acquaintance of Osborne’s to discuss what the budget really means.
Natalie Rowe is in a prime position to take us through the pleasure and the pain of George Osborne’s emergency budget. The former dominatrix hit the headlines with allegations of drugs, parties and a social set that included a young George Osborne. And today she agreed to give the chancellor’s budget a crack of the whip, exclusively for The London Economic.
Natalie’s claims about decadent clients in the corridors of power have caused many red cheeks. But let’s see what the former vice madam, who knows a thing or two about unorthodox economics thinks of the budget that George Osborne presented to parliament today.
Economic growth lower than expected – revised down for 2015 to 2.4 per cent. Forecast to grow 2.3 per cent next year – and then grow the year after that:
Natalie Rowe: “In my line of business I have occasionally come across disappointing rates of growth!
And today George has not failed to disappoint!”
Debt 80.3 per cent of GDP this year, 79.1 per cent next year to reach 68.5 per cent in 2020/21:
NR: “I’m not surprised the Tories aren’t getting a grip on debt, it never seemed to bother any of the Bullingdon Club boys I ever met – they just pulled a chequebook out at the drop of a hat!”
Public sector pay to rise by one per cent a year for four years:
NR: “I’ve had my fair share of scrapes with public servants over the years, but we all need our doctors, nurses, firemen and policemen. After the past five years of frozen pay, another five years of low pay is no way to treat the people who keep our country running. Expect more strikes than an evening with my whip!”
Crack down on tax avoidance and permanent non-dom tax status for anyone resident in UK for 15 of the last 20 years.
NR: “I’ve had years of practice in making non-dom millionaires’ eyes water. It remains to be seen if George can whip them into shape too!”
Maintenance Grants for poorer students scrapped from 2016/17, replaced by loans.
NR: “George seems to be oblivious that not everyone can afford to party like his chums did at University!”
More devolution for Manchester, which will become a “Northern Powerhouse.”
NR: “As a Northerner in London I’ve shown a few Westminster figures what a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ is over the years! But on a serious note when I go home to visit, I see parts of the North have suffered enormously economically over the past five years so I hope there is some actual substance to these plans. I’m used to toffs boasting things will be bigger and better and failing to rise to the occasion!”
Local councils to decide on Sunday trading hours.
NR: “I’ve never stopped working on the day of rest and even had a man of the cloth come on a Sunday! One MP was my Sunday regular, so I’m all for ANYTHING being open on a Sunday!”
From April 2017, £1m free of inheritance tax.
NR: “George Osborne is heir to the Osborne baronetcy, so unsurprising. This’ll tickle his rich chums’ more than anything in my dungeon ever could!”
Welfare: No automatic housing benefit for 18- to 21-year-olds. Free 30 hours of childcare for three and four-year-olds. Freeze working age benefits for four years. Rents in social housing cut by 1%. Child tax credits restricted to two children by 2017. Benefits capped at £20,000 from £26,000 (£23,000 London). Cuts to employment and support allowance payments for people capable of “work-related activity”.
NR: “Osborne is giving with one hand and taking away with another, only in a much less fun way than I ever did! And he’s certainly better at punishing people. Only it now seems to be that people are being punished for having children.”
A National Living Wage, starting at £7.20 and rising to £9 an hour in 2020, replaces £6.50 minimum wage.
NR: “Another budget measure nicked straight out of the Labour manifesto, but I’m afraid this will be too little and too late. By the year 2020 , £9 might seem as pointless as a chocolate dildo.”