07 October 2009

George Osborne’s “dent”

The focus group industry will be working flat out to assess how Osborne’s biggest gamble since the last one plays out with us voters.

Meanwhile, it worth considering what Robert Chote, the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said yesterday when he described the cuts announced as a “dent”:

If the deficit is to be halved by 2014, the cuts announced yesterday, if they raise what they say, is still one sixth of the whole of the tightening [required], and less if the Tories want to cut the deficit more quickly. Whether this can be done without affecting frontline services remains to be seen.

….spending representing 3.2% of national income would have to be taken out of the economy by 2013-14 to halve the deficit. Yesterday's announcements represent only half of 1%.

Then we get to pensions:

Not everyone is going to work an extra year if you delay the state pension age, because only a third of men are still working by the time they reach the state pension age. My guess is they will make savings but I doubt it will be as large as they claim.

For once, Mandy and friends got it wrong:

Lord Mandelson and his aides war-gamed what Osborne would do today, and they thought the first item on his list would be to drop the pledge to increase the threshold on inheritance tax. a move that benefits the 3,000 wealthiest estates.  Labour was astonished that this pledge was not dumped yesterday, saying: "This is an issue that really pumps the dials in the focus groups."

So, we will have a phoney war until the focus groups report and then we will watch the game “cuts without frightening the voters” play out.

Keep a watchful eye out for today’s YouGov tracker poll.  It should provide an early indication of how George’s little cunning plan has gone down with us punters.

Cameron will need more than a glass of champagne if the thin blue line travels south.

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1 comment:

  1. Sad that so much is done by focus group, that's for sure.