The church treasurer has been round with forms for me to sign, to change standing orders to pay the church administrator and cleaner. Both of them, part-time workers (one with another part-time job too) will receive less money in future, although they received a cost-of-living wage increase in January.
You remember last year’s Budget, the last that Mr Brown prepared? At the end, he announced that the base rate of tax would go down from 22% to 20%, quite wrong-footing the Leader of the Opposition who had to give an instant critical reply – and wrong-footing the Leader of the Opposition is an absolutely appropriate thing for the Chancellor to do. But not, I think, by leaving out an important fact, which I read about in the paper the next day. The 10% tax rate for lower-paid workers was being eliminated and, as soon as they had enough to pay tax at all, they would pay 20% like the rest of those of us who are on basic rate.
This means that, from this April, people earning enough to pay tax but less than £15,000 per annum will pay more. Helping people out of the poverty trap? I don’t think so.
*Denis Healey denies, by the way, saying “Squeezing the rich until the pips squeak”, but says that Lloyd George said it back in the 1920s. However, I suspect it will remain indelibly associated with him.