The national media and the commentariat will be talking about the Sugar Tax tonight, as Osborne wanted, but there’s more to 2016 Budget than meets the eye.
Political Scrapbook went through it to pick out five of the worst policies announced today.
1. All schools will be forced to turn into Academies and no longer be under local council supervision by 2020.
- make schools less accountable
- make it harder for local authorities to allocate for education needs
- expand control of unaccountable ‘Academy Trusts’ and Free Schools
- push education system towards privatisation
— NUT (@NUTonline) March 16, 2016
2. Another £3.5billion of cuts coming
Osborne has ordered departments to find another £3.5 billion in cuts for 2019/20, which will once again hit unprotected departments. He hasn’t specified where the money will come from, either.
3. Higher house prices
The new savings measures today will boost house prices again, especially since the government has not done anything to build more houses
The OBR predicts that today’s measures will raise house prices by at least 0.3%
OBR predicts an added 0.3% to level of house prices as an indirect effect of 'Lifetime ISA' and £20,000 ISA limit pic.twitter.com/sUY7TWKD4N
— Amber de Botton (@AmberSkyNews) March 16, 2016
4. More inequality
Increasing the personal tax allowance is an expensive way to badly target help for the low paid, says Child Poverty Action Group.
It is simply not a social justice measure when 85 per cent of the £2 billion the Treasury spends goes to the top half and a third goes to the top 10 per cent. For every £1000 the personal tax allowance goes up, basic rate taxpayers gain £200, but Universal Credit rules will claw back 65 per cent of that gain from the low paid, leaving them only gaining a maximum of £70 a year.
5. Worse for the environment.
Osborne today announced tax support worth £1 billion for the oil and gas industry. This includes effectively abolishing Petroleum Revenue Tax and cutting the supplementary charge on oil and gas extraction (from 20% to 10%).
He also announced another fuel duty freeze.
Don’t let the media distract you from the real bad news