Last Tuesday saw Young Fabians come together ahead of the forthcoming Anatomy to talk about the important issues of the Budget over casual drinks in the City. This ‘Scrub Up’ discussion developed towards two important questions; two axis of measurement on how sound tothe policy.
The first axis was centred around the question of whether the Budget was fair, or if it hit certain groups in a disproportional manner, and whether that remains true when looking at the overall programme of cuts by this government. Are elements such as the Granny or Pasty Tax really unfair, or should pensioners take some of the burden that has been so far felt by today’s youth? Will corporation tax change actually result in increased investment, or is Britain the logical choice to invest in anyway, with uncertainty in the Eurozone? There is the prospect of a Tobin tax in Europe, and if Francois Hollande is elected in France, an income tax top rate of 75%.
The second axis picked up on comments by Lord Layard at the recent Young Fabians event on wellbeing politics- the differences between short-run and long-run growth. The question whether changes in corporation tax infrastructure is the best course of action for Britain to take in the short term, and whether this budget will actually help society in the next year or two, is a pressing one. As is the question of whether low growth will leave an entire generation behind.
We spoke more about whether regional investment such as the northern transportation and ultra-fast broadband hubs were enough to promote growth, or whether it was London that benefited most from the Budget. Are the investments in the regions merely token supplements in relation to the massive loss of industry sustained there since 2008?
Will pressures on housing from job growth in London see an increase in demand spiral costs even higher? Is the change on property stamp duty aggressive enough? I suggested that an alternative was to target residential property above £250,000k owned by corporate entities with 15% stamp duty- with exceptions for social enterprises- to discourage the monopoly of large for-profit property companies. What would a drop in house prices mean politically, with so many households in Britain holding the majority of their assets in their home?
With the many lines of enquiry that can be taken on the Budget, the upcoming Anatomy session will look in detail at only a few. For those who missed out on applying to join the group, the results of our investigation will be published on the blog for your scrutiny in due course.
Alex Adranghi is the Chair of the Young Fabians Future of Finance Network
The Anatomy will run at Parliament