MP COLUMN: Chancellors should not leak their budgets

There’s a rule which says Chancellor’s should not leak their budget speech before it’s officially delivered.

Friday, 29th October 2021, 6:00 am
Alan Campbell, Tynemouth MP.

Hugh Dalton broke the rule in 1947 in a comment to a journalist friend then did the decent thing and resigned.

The fact that most of this week’s budget was leaked by the Government confirms that today’s Ministers do not believe rules apply to them.

So we were told beforehand that the public sector pay freeze would end next year but not how much the offers might be.

We were told the minimum wage would rise.

Both are welcome but leave working families with two problems.

The awards are unlikely to keep pace with inflation and anyway won’t happen until next spring.

By then we will all have endured a winter of rising food prices, record petrol prices and soaring energy bills.

The Chancellor will not have been short of advice.

There’s a strong case for getting rid of VAT on domestic fuel for the next sixth months to give help now to struggling households.

It’s affordable because VAT receipts for the Government have soared as inflation rises.

VAT on fuel has long been a favoured choice of Tory Tax – they once tried to put it up to 17%. Then when forced to reduce it to 5% they blamed the EU for making them keep it.

We’re out of the EU now so let’s take back control of our taxes and energy bills by taking action.

That way pensioners, UC recipients as well as working families may not have to choose between eating and heating.