Don't be fooled, this Budget will benefit the rich
On the face of it Osborne played it well. He stuck to the Coalition's 'we're all in it together' spiel and raised a few cheers when he listed the ways in which he would shake some more change out of the rich.
So what are the wealthy facing?
- A clampdown on tax avoidance and the introduction of a General Anti-Avoidance Rule to capture more people;
- A 7% stamp duty tax on properties worth £2 million or more;
- A 15% stamp duty tax on residential property bought by a company;
- A cap on reliefs that are uncapped;
- And let's throw in an increased bank levy for good measure.
All fine measures on the face of it but there is one very obvious question: if you're trying to make the wealthy pay more, why lower the 50p top rate of tax to 45p?
Osborne's argument is that the top rate of tax has only bought in £1 billion of revenue (not be sniffed at if you ask me, but I don't run the country's cheque book), and done too much damage to the UK's reputation.
I say, rubbish. If £1 billion isn't enough, dropping the rate 5p is going to bring in even less. Does the government think that all those wealthy people who did clever tricks to ensure they didn't pay the top rate will now have a change of heart? Of course not.
The other argument is Britain will become a no-go area for business, which is also tripe.
We've contended with tax hikes, bank levies and the biggest financial meltdown in a century but the City isn't a ghost town, people come from all over the world to work in Britain – the mass exodus that those with vested interests have been warning us about has never happened.
Besides, a cut in corporation tax to 20% over the next few years will surely lure more businesses to the UK so why cut the tax rate for those that can easily afford to pay more.
The coalition would like to think they have the common man at heart but what did he benefit really? There was talk about stamp duty avoidance but nothing said about extending the stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers.
The average family was allowed to keep their child benefit that Osborne was going to take in the first place – very kind of you George.
Let's face it, it's those earning £150,000 that will be celebrating a great victory after this Budget.