There is a magic money tree after all

Share:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
The Tories have found the magic money tree that Theresa May said didn't exist. But in his Budget review, Jim asks if there is underlying unease in the Tory Party about this dramatic switch from austerity to a bonanza of spending.

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”2/3″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]

Mutterings from Tory Old Guard

After Tory backbenchers gave a rousing reception to their new star Rishi Sunak, it was left to former Prime Minister Theresa May to remind the Tories what they used to stand for. When she was in office, she observed that there was no magic money tree. She was reflecting the Conservative tradition established by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s and carried on by David Cameron in the last decade, when he claimed that austerity was necessary following the 2008 crash and Labour’s mismanagement of the economy. She may reflect unease that won’t express itself for now, that the sharp turn from austerity to bonanza may not end well.

It was truly extraordinary to hear the Chancellor saying he would spend “whatever it takes” to deal with the virus crisis. Of course, the seriousness of Covid-19 means that the government will do just that, but it was said in the context of a two-pronged budget which also promised billions of pounds of spending to level up the economy.

The Tories winning card up to now has always been that they manage the economy better than Labour. They may continue to do so but we have seen a very significant change in British politics since Boris Johnson took over as Prime Minister. The Conservative Party has ditched ideology to match the pragmatism of those voters in the North who were prepared to reject Labour for a gamble on the Tories. They will point to a strong economy, the Brexit dividend and the fact that cheap borrowing rates look to be permanent.

Jeremy Corbyn was heard in silence in the Commons when he replied to the Chancellor. This may have been because the new parliament is on its best behaviour. The truth is more likely to have been that Tories regard the Opposition as so irrelevant that it not worth booing them. On the Labour benches morale is low. 20 points behind the Tories in the opinion polls and with the discredited Corbyn still in place, there was little to cheer. The party’s claim that the years of austerity did great harm and have left the NHS ill prepared for the virus crisis have merit, but their ex supporters in the North aren’t listening. They just hope Johnsonomics will work.

Budget of two halves

The government are handling the virus crisis well. In policy terms, they are calm, vigilant and determined not to go over the top by closing schools and banning football until it is necessary. In the first part of the Budget, we got the economic measures to support this approach. Rishi Sunak announced £12bn of spending to protect business from the short term shocks the economy is facing. Providing the banks adopt a policy of forbearance, we must hope that good businesses don’t go under just because of cashflow problems.

The second half of the Budget had significant measures affecting the North. At last West Yorkshire is to get a devolution deal with a mayor. There is a £4.2bn transport fund for the elected mayors, although how devolved the powers to spend it will be is doubted by Labour leadership candidate Lisa Nandy. There is hope that Teesside, Humberside and Merseyside will benefit from spending on carbon capture centres.

We’ll need those because the government is schizophrenic on climate change. There were green measures but there was also the freeze in fuel duty and lots of new roads planned.

There were also gaping holes in the Budget. Hardly a mention of Brexit and the possible consequences of No Deal. A long-term solution to social care as far away as ever and the infrastructure plan deferred.

This may be Mr Sunak’s finest hour.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/3″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGhyZWYlM0QlMjJodHRwcyUzQSUyRiUyRnR3aXR0ZXIuY29tJTJGSmltSGFuY29ja1VLJTNGcmVmX3NyYyUzRHR3c3JjJTI1NUV0ZnclMjIlMjBjbGFzcyUzRCUyMnR3aXR0ZXItZm9sbG93LWJ1dHRvbiUyMiUyMGRhdGEtc2hvdy1jb3VudCUzRCUyMmZhbHNlJTIyJTNFRm9sbG93JTIwJTQwSmltSGFuY29ja1VLJTNDJTJGYSUzRSUzQ3NjcmlwdCUyMGFzeW5jJTIwc3JjJTNEJTIyaHR0cHMlM0ElMkYlMkZwbGF0Zm9ybS50d2l0dGVyLmNvbSUyRndpZGdldHMuanMlMjIlMjBjaGFyc2V0JTNEJTIydXRmLTglMjIlM0UlM0MlMkZzY3JpcHQlM0U=[/vc_raw_html][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGNsYXNzJTNEJTIydHdpdHRlci10aW1lbGluZSUyMiUyMGRhdGEtaGVpZ2h0JTNEJTIyMTAwMCUyMiUyMGhyZWYlM0QlMjJodHRwcyUzQSUyRiUyRnR3aXR0ZXIuY29tJTJGSmltSGFuY29ja1VLJTNGcmVmX3NyYyUzRHR3c3JjJTI1NUV0ZnclMjIlM0VUd2VldHMlMjBieSUyMEppbUhhbmNvY2tVSyUzQyUyRmElM0UlMjAlM0NzY3JpcHQlMjBhc3luYyUyMHNyYyUzRCUyMmh0dHBzJTNBJTJGJTJGcGxhdGZvcm0udHdpdHRlci5jb20lMkZ3aWRnZXRzLmpzJTIyJTIwY2hhcnNldCUzRCUyMnV0Zi04JTIyJTNFJTNDJTJGc2NyaXB0JTNFJTIw[/vc_raw_html][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGhyZWYlM0QlMjJodHRwcyUzQSUyRiUyRnR3aXR0ZXIuY29tJTJGSmltSGFuY29ja1VLJTNGcmVmX3NyYyUzRHR3c3JjJTI1NUV0ZnclMjIlMjBjbGFzcyUzRCUyMnR3aXR0ZXItZm9sbG93LWJ1dHRvbiUyMiUyMGRhdGEtc2hvdy1jb3VudCUzRCUyMmZhbHNlJTIyJTNFRm9sbG93JTIwJTQwSmltSGFuY29ja1VLJTNDJTJGYSUzRSUzQ3NjcmlwdCUyMGFzeW5jJTIwc3JjJTNEJTIyaHR0cHMlM0ElMkYlMkZwbGF0Zm9ybS50d2l0dGVyLmNvbSUyRndpZGdldHMuanMlMjIlMjBjaGFyc2V0JTNEJTIydXRmLTglMjIlM0UlM0MlMkZzY3JpcHQlM0U=[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Chop this tall popinjay!

Has levelling up the North been abandoned? Is the government spooked by voters in Amersham? Jim looks at the prospects for real money and power being devolved to our cities, towns and countryside.

Read More

FOOTBALL WON’T BE COMIN’ HOME.

Jim was at our World Cup victory in 1966 and draws on his experience of that year to comment on the ugly scenes outside Wembley on Sunday and their potential consequences. He also has strong views about the idea that we should all allow our lawns to run wild!

Read More

HEZZA: CLERK OF WORKS.

Jim reports on Lord Heseltine’s fascinating take on his time in Liverpool and his strong views on current events.From Brexit and the dangers of inflation to devolution and World Heritage Status for the city. Jim also hopes that England can win the Euros with no disputes about soft penalties or whether the ball has crossed the line.

Read More