Alistair Darling, the latest Scottish Chancellor of the Exchequer, has announced his first pre-budget review.
In his mini-budget he has decided to double the inheritence tax thresholds for couples, small comfort for those who don’t fall into that bracket – widows, young children who have just lost their parents, etc.
A tax allowance for private equity firms has been abolished resulting in an expected £350m rise in the amount of capital gains tax paid by private equity companies over the next year. Private equity firms are responsible for a large percentage of the insolvent companies rescued, saving jobs and protecting consumers.
Corporation Tax is being cut by 2p to 28% so large companies get to pay less tax.
Local Authority grants for local services will increase to £26bn by 2010 but this will still be preceded by a mandatory cost-cutting exercise in the next financial year which will see council tax bills rise substantially to cover the cuts.
An “extra” £2bn has been given to English health and education. Gordon Brown’s last act as Chancellor was to cut £2bn off the English NHS buildings budget whilst leaving the Scottish and Welsh budget intact. The £2bn “extra” for England will mean extra for Scotland and Wales under the Barnett Formula, further widening the gap between health spending in England compared to the rest of the UK.
Net borrowing will be £23bn by 2012.
£460m is being spent on the British Council (no representation for England of course), the BBC World Service BBC Farsi and Arabic channels. Durka Durka.
So, what can the average man on the street expect to gain from the Tartan Taxman the Second? Bugger all of course, except higher bills and, if you’re English, more discrimination. Why is an MP elected in Scotland deciding how much money should be spent on English health, education, environment, etc? He can’t decide how much is spent in Scotland where he was elected.