1997: Titanic – James Cameron
Perhaps its me, but my impression of the Autumn Statement today was frankly underwhelming. In fairness, bar a complete change of policy the Chancellor has worked himself into a corner. The growth forecasts are cut, public sector pay has been more or less frozen. The hope is that for UKplc this is not a case of rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. The Chancellor seems upbeat, but then he has to. He wasn’t dealt a terribly good hand and he is now stuck playing it as well as he can. The economy and frankly Parliament are short on good ideas to get us out of the recession.
One of the positive announcements was the provision of £40bn to small businesses. Whilst this is a big number, by comparison to the NHS Budget of £106bn it is relatively small. This after all is the Budget to help our ailing nation and where wealth and job creation are supposed to begin (in the private sector). There was as a case of deja vu – with social tennants given the opportunity to buy their homes at a 50% discount on a right-to-buy basis – something that we have certainly seen before with council homes.
Many of us will be receiving a State Pension later (if there is any money left by then) and the £1m limit of Venture Capital Trusts will be removed. This has little real benefit to the vast majority of the population directly and I have my reservations about the genuine long-term business plans of VCTs.
Most of us probably would have expected this sort of Statement. There isn’t money around and there’s not a lot of festive joy to be gained, save altering an petrol price increase, which has not even happened yet. So whilst I attempt to digest the 98 page statement, I don’t think there’s an awful lot to write home about, but I will keep you posted. I assume that the strikes by Public Sector workers will proceed tomorrow.
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