Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Whisper It And Shudder

Philip Hammond delivered his autumn statement today, long speculated about it was an admission of failure. He delivered it with gravitas and a degree of humour and as politicians do with the odd lie thrown in, such as calling the continuing freeze on fuel duty increases, a cut in taxation.

Politicians behave like idiots in the house, we saw that again today, and treat us like idiots with much of what they say; the lack of an increase is not a cut and although in their eyes it is, that still doesn't excuse it. Actually it is illuminating about the mindset of those who would govern rather than serve.

Mrs May, not my Prime Minister, has made much about what she calls JAMs, the just about managing, and reducing the taper on 'in work benefits' so you now lose just 63p per extra pound you earn, if 'just' is the right word, rather than 65p, is a move which will doubtless see the JAMs celebrating wildly in the streets.

The rising personal allowance, creeping up annually to above £12,000 ultimately is an excellent idea, one I've long argued for and which I discussed with Nick Clegg a very long time back. After all, who can house themselves, clothe themselves, feed themselves, pay utility bills and have any kind of life or security in modern Britain on less than a thousand pounds a month?

Taxing people before they've earned enough to live, then giving it back in benefits is mad, wasteful and insulting. The rising personal threshold isn't a new announcement and it was a Liberal idea not a Tory idea.

There were announcements about investing in productivity, technology and infrastructure. All to the good, but as a proportion of our gross domestic product still pathetically low. The reasons for that are uncertainty and debt, not necessarily in that order.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell made much of the figures amounting to an admission of failure and gave a moving and eloquent blast of hot air about the JAMs and the health service. The idea that he and Labour, spending incontinents that they are, could save our economy is laughable.

The national debt looks highly likely to rise to two trillion pounds by the end of the decade, whisper it and shudder. It was slightly less than one trillion when the Tories took over from Gordon blow it all Brown, but the die was cast. Such huge debts are a lead weight pulling us down, we need an annual surplus to reduce it not an annual deficit and when will that happen? Labour of course want to increase borrowing, increase the deficit and accelerate the rate at which the debt grows. They call that caring about people.

The Tory target to begin paying it down with a small annual surplus was 2015, then it was put back to 2020, now it's just 'as soon as possible', not good enough. Growth forecasts have been revised downwards, well, I'm no fan of forecasts, but given negotiations, if you can call them that, will start with our neighbours next year reducing growth forecasts to 1.4 and 1.7% does look pretty sensible on the face of it. Millions voted for it, it's only the millions who voted the other way who no longer have a voice.

What have we got to negotiate with? Sure our market is important to a point, but our spending power is greatly reduced and we want access to twenty seven other markets, no, it is they who hold the cards and that will come home to people when, and only when, it's too damn late to change course.

Take note, US and German productivity is 30% better than ours. For all their workers rights and holidays French productivity is 20% better than ours, Italian productivity is 8% better than ours and last time I looked Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Ferrari were Italian owned. British owned car companies anyone? Rolls Royce, Bentley, Jaguar, MG perhaps, Mini no.

Interest rates are at a record low, helps some hinders others, like the responsible savers and so a new bond has been announced, you can invest a whole £3000, tie it up for three years and get a whopping 2.2%, that, I imagine, will have the savers hanging out the bunting with the Brexiteers, anyone who's trying to save now remember paying 17% on their mortgage?

Better Hammond than McDonnell although a drowning man struggling to survive might do better to let death come and that appears to be the choice.

Spend now for tomorrow it'll be gone!


  1. Isn't FIAT now FCA. A USA corporation?

  2. I was always under the impression Fiat took over Chrysler not the other way around. Fiat Automobiles S.p.A., is the largest automobile manufacturer in Italy, a subsidiary of FCA Italy S.p.A. which is part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Wikipedia
    Customer service: 00 800 3428 0000
    Headquarters: Turin, Italy
    Founder: Giovanni Agnelli
    Parent organizations: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, FCA Italy
    Subsidiaries: Lancia, Iveco, Maserati, New Holland Agriculture, more
    CEO: Olivier Fran├žois (Sep 1, 2011–), Sergio Marchionne (Jun 1, 2004–)

    Fiat now owns Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Lancia, Maserati, and all the Chrysler brands, including Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and SRT.