OK, Iain says I should be live blogging so here goes. I cannot deny that I have started sticking knives in my arm because of boredom, but some interesting observations.
- Prescott is definitely eyeing up Gordon Brown's arse and occasionally licking his lips. (Iain stole my joke!).
- Most of the Cabinet hasn't managed to get a seat and are all standing at the back. This is good so they now know what it's like to stand up for over an hour and be bored like we commuters do.
- Every time Brown announces something about department X it cuts to the relevant minister who is on tenterhooks wondering whether they are about to be screwed. But he's not a control freak honest.
- Brown has decided to keep the zero rate for road tax on the cars that either don't get made anymore or cannot be bought here.
- As expected he is increasing tax credits. At the same time he claims he wants to "reward saving". So he's a liar.
- He's re-packaged and re-announced the YTS/New Deal. Basically he's done a "partnership" deal with Sainsbury, Tesco etc who have agreed to "maybe" take the people in the scheme on. So no change to the way the New Deal worked at all.
- Apparently, we married people just need transferable allowances on Capital Gains Tax. What normal family person ever has to consider capital gains tax?
- Oh look, here's the big one. A 2p cut in the basic rate of income tax to 20%. But given he's just scrapped the 10% tax rate altogether he's just off-set it and dragged a ton of people into the 20% tax rate. He's basically just increased income tax whilst making it look like he's cut it.
We should also note that he didn't mention the tax free allowances remaining pretty much static and certainly not in line withe the retail price index inflation rate which is the one that we ordinary people experience at the coal face. With a 0% inflation rate he is increasing income tax, add in the 4+% RPI and you have an even harder pinch on the lowest earners, thereby increasing their reliance on the state for handouts. Further encouraging the culture of dependency.