Caroline Pidgeon writes…This is a “microwave” budget from Osborne

This is a ‘microwave’ budget from George Osborne. He has just re-heated many announcements already made.

Some announcements can be welcomed – albeit cautiously at this stage as we haven’t seen the precise detail. Devolution of Business Rates and the proposals for financing infrastructure projects from land value increases are things the Liberal Democrats have long argued for.

Those of us in London had already been told last week that Crossrail 2 was going ahead and that there would be a need for Londoners to match fund the development costs. The increase in the share of business rates retained by London will help fund this vital new project, but a £1.9billion cut in TfL funds, as a result of Sadiq Khan’s fares policy, puts at risk important investment in London’s future transport needs.

But the Tories don’t escape. If elected Mayor I will ignore the Chancellor’s and Zac Goldsmith’s obsession with road building and ‘flyunder’ tunnels, and use the opportunity for financing infrastructure projects from land value increases to improve public transport and tackle air pollution in London.

Given this was a highly political budget, from a highly political chancellor, handing out ‘goodies’ which he hopes will improve Tory chances in the up-coming elections in London, Scotland, Wales and local councils in England, I care not a jot about Osborne’s claim he is abolishing the Liberal Democrats given that he’s missing all his other targets for the UK’s economy. Don’t worry George, I’ll still be a thorn in your side.​

* Caroline Pidgeon is the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member and chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee

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5 Comments

  • Eddie Sammon 16th Mar '16 - 5:47pm

    This is an article fit for a Mayor. The important thing to emphasize is people can still vote for Caroline as first preference and Sadiq or Zac for second.

    The budget was also a bit complicated for me. I don’t see why we can’t abolish ISAs completely and replace with a tax cut. The tax system should be simple.

    Regards

  • @Eddie Sammon Tax cut for those who have savings (these are nasty “rich” people) is bad-bad-bad. Let’s tax them more to save our valuable survices!

  • Richard Underhill 16th Mar '16 - 7:58pm

    We should be careful to avoid automatically campaigning against everything the government does. Persuading drinks manufacturers to reduce sugar looks like a good idea, although they have plenty of time to do it.

  • @Richard Underhill If the Tories did it, we should be for the freedom of sugar!

  • nigel hunter 16th Mar '16 - 10:29pm

    They implemented a sugar tax in South America ,with little success, they still drank plenty. Osborne is using the tax to improve sports facilities, allegedly . I would like to know who is going to administer this tax so it goes to where he says.

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