Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s that time of year again. The time of year when we hear pontificating straight-from-the-trenches by our dear chancellor, throwing out buzz words like “Pulling together” and “Britain will rise again”, which are now translated by the general public as essentially; “Yeeeeeeah…gonna need a *bit* more of your cash. Soz, babez.”
As soon as the budget comes into the public sphere, people want to know how it will affect them. Will I have to retire 80? Will I ever be able to buy a house? Am I going to spend every evening for the rest of my life crying into a pot-noodle, as I can no longer afford any food over a pound per unit?
Right, first things third; Personal Allowance, the amount you earn tax free of your income, is due to rise next year; increasing from £7,475 to £9,205. The Lib Dems had wanted to get it raised to £10,000 instantly as part of their manifesto, but the Lib Dems have as much power in the incumbent coalition government as a stale lettuce soaked in piss, so the fact that it’s even being raised to anywhere near that figure is impressive. The tax free allowance will eventually rise to the somewhat sacrosanct figure of £10,000 in April 2014. So even though the Lib Dems have sat idly by and watched the NHS being carved up, tuition fees raised and multi-national conglomerates avoiding millions in corporate tax, they have flexed their guns to save you £250 annually. So, you know, cheers for that, guys.
High earners have also seen tax SLASHED on their earnings, with the top rate of tax (on earnings more than £150,000) being cut from 50p to 45p. In an attempt to allay the fears from those scared about the loss in revenue from these high earners’ taxes, Osbourne stated that the 50p tax rate “Had not made a huge difference to the tax take.” And he has a point, as no-one earning over £150,000 pays tax anyway, with it all stashed abroad in Cayman holding accounts, or through intricate accounting systems which claim that their wife runs their multi-national company from a poolside resort in Monte-Carlo. Fuck ‘em, have a top rate tax of 99p. It’s all immaterial. None of them are paying it anyway. The bastards.
Further good news for tax payers, as 85% of local authorities are reducing or freezing council tax next year. Sounds great, but you’ll all be screaming like a flippin’ banshee later on in the next 12 months, when your council is in a financial quagmire and no-one comes to collect to your bins. A further interesting move by Osbourne and co, is to send each tax payer a letter detailing how much of their tax goes to pay for certain services. Again, sounds great in theory, but whoever the poor sod is who gets a letter from the Wine Standards Board or the British Potato Council, thanking them for their ongoing support to ‘Britain’s favourite Quango’, will be apoplectic.
So for the super rich and those on the bottom of the financial pyramid, quite a rosy outlook. But who’s going to foot the bill? Pensioners, that’s who. A freeze on pensioners’ personal allowance won’t see them lose anything in ‘cash terms’, but inflation will see their income contract by as much as £285; saving the government around £1bn a year. So granny may have bought you shit presents for past Christmas’, but this year, she’s footing your tax break.
Well that’s earnings out the way, but what about spending? What can you now not afford to buy with your miserably beleaguered earnings due to tax hikes? Well SUPRISE SUR-fucking-PRISE, tax has gone up on cigarettes. Colour. Me. Gobsmacked. Smoking will soon be so expensive, that it will become another posh-boy activity which is the sole preserve of the upper-classes. Like fox hunting was. Or Polo. “Yes, darling, we had a spiffing weekend where we took the children out to the country and went smoking with friends. It was just divine, yah”.
It addition to a smoking tax hike, Osbourne has also introduced a ‘pasty tax’. In some ways similar to a ‘fat-tax’ which certain groups were clamouring for, the pasty tax introduces 20% VAT on hot food sold by bakeries and supermarkets (i.e. rotisserie chicken and, of course, pasties). Now the nation was up in arms about this, which is surprising, as these same people who feel their civil liberties are being infringed by whacking up tax on shitty food which causes artery clogging side-effects, have no problem with tax on tobacco because, “it’s bad for you, innit, and I don’t like the smell”. The change in the legislature says food “heated to above air-ambient temperature” - which one would assume means any food warmer than your average Boards of Canada CD – is subject to the tax. It was usually just for ‘takeaway food’, whilst bakery food/supermarket food was exempt, due to it being “heated to improve its appearance (ie it could equally be enjoyed cold); or it will be eaten at home.” This, however, makes a mockery of the entire process, as Chinese food the morning after is a dish fit for Jesus Christ himself.
The Guardian said this would be a problem, with it causing “fears that the price of the average pasty could rise by around 50p”. Now, I’m sorry, but there are many things to fear in life. Nuclear air-strikes. The ebola virus. Former professional wrestler Ludvig Borga. But anyone who FEARS a 50p rise on a fucking sausage roll needs their head examined. Anyway, Morrisons were seething at the news. A spokesperson said;
“Will a slice of hot pizza count as bread? … Will they send round a load of government inspectors with probes to stick up rotisserie chickens in every Morrisons oven-fresh section?”
Reads like a Daily Mail “speak your brains” comment, that. Just needs to mention PC gone mad and how it was probably only done to appease gays, for the full house.
However, in a battle over who could come out as the thickest in this tussle of the educationally subnormal, that award was won by L*ber*l D*mocr*t councillor Alex Folkes, who – as part of his ‘Stop the Pasty Tax’ campaign – stated:
“I’m not saying that the tax means nobody will ever buy a pasty again… It would mean some people buying hot pasties less often – and that could lead to job losses.”
Just… forget it. It’s not worth wasting energy on it.
In response to the pasty-backlash, D-Cam went on the ‘Just call me Dave’ offensive, by recalling a picture-book moment in his life when he enjoyed a Cornish pasty at Leeds train station, probably back during his teenage rebellion phase when he was slumming it with the proletariat. Other conservative MPs fell in line, with Osborne stating that he couldn’t remember the last time he had one, whilst Boris Johnson said that he used to feed them to his servants all the time (this last one is fabricated. I think). However, the Conservative PR fell on deaf ears, with people fuming over the hike. One punter stated:
“It’s like the Jaffa Cake – that great debate on whether it’s a cake or a biscuit and so whether it got clobbered by VAT. That put the Jaffa Cake into limbo land and that’s what the government’s done with the pasty. They’ve put the pasty into limbo land. People aren’t going to be happy about that.”
Ah yes, the infamous Jaffa Cake debate of 2003. It was our generation’s Oslo Accords.
Basically, in the same way that booze and fags are, junk food is bad for you. And pies are about as bad as it gets. So if you want to clog your arteries with shite-tastic food straight from the dripping conveyor line of Greggs that – in general – isn’t fit for human consumption, and simultaneously want to actively fuck your health up and become a strain on the NHS, you can pay for it. “Oh but it’s a treat, it’s fine now and again”, yeah, but if I treat myself to a fag or one pint of foamy nut-brown ale a month, I get taxed for it. So shut your fucking mouth, fall in line, and pay tax for your appalling grub.
In addition to the pasty tax, Air Line Passenger Duty has been increased, meaning that however much you hate the new budget, you can’t afford to escape it. Also, there has been the introduction of a new pseudo-‘Mansion Tax’; increasing stamp duty on homes over £2m to 15% – a 3-fold raise. Observers have said that this may put off overseas nationals from investing in West-London property deals, causing prime-London real estate to ‘go into meltdown’, see shares in top-end real estate agents plummet, and has been described as some as “from banker bashing to property bashing”. You know what? On balance, I can live with that.
So in summary, if you’re a low earning or high earning Briton with a healthy diet; watch the money roll in. However, if you’re a pensioner who smokes and likes a pasty, whilst are simultaneous trying to sell your swank West London pad and use the profits to pay for a flight to Australia, you’re going to want to leave that check blank.
Same time next year, campers!