So what do we all think?
I was expecting to be very angry, but was actually remarkably pleased. Obviously some bits of it were stupid (I love the bit on the BBC News summary which says, in two consecutive bullet points, “Grants for student nurses to be scrapped and replaced by loans.” then “Goal of increasing student nurse numbers by 10,000″…hmmm, joined up thinking at all?), but overall I was impressed.
I particularly liked the scrapping of the tax credit cuts, the real terms stability for science funding, and the increase in stamp duty for buy-to-let and second homes (about time too!).
What did you think?
This is why I asked what others thought! I came in part-way through, but pretty much everything I heard made a surprising amount of sense. I wondered if I’d fallen, hit my head, and awoken in 2020 during the first spending review of the new Labour government. Obviously we could pick out lots of details that we don’t like (top of my list would be wasting more money on defence at a time when it seems that more armed forces make us less safe) but overall it seemed way better than I expected.
I’m waiting to see what the detail looks like (courtesy of IFS) tomorrow!
Good to see tax credit cuts delayed, although putting the cuts into Universal Credit in 2018 potentially means the burden goes on those already hardest hit rather than “hard working families”?
What I think is that basing a massive spending round on the back of some random predictions of huge economic growth from an organisation that has not got a good record in this department and in defiance of most evidence seems like a cheap way to get good headlines and a terrible way to run a major economy. Especially since most of the headlines will be praising the Chancellor for not doing something that he shouldn’t even have considered doing in the first place.
Oh, and transferring money from local councils to the NHS also seems superficially attractive (and also gets good headlines) but given that local social care is cheaper and more effective than hospital bed space, this seems like it may not work out very well. (Well, for those of us who believe that a National Health Service is more than just doctors and nurses anyway.)
And making an announcement about new house building is the sign of someone with no other real ideas left in their magic box – we’ve been promised new houses every year since, well, as long as I can remember, as though they can appear from nowhere.
David Brain, quite so. So you’re paying money to housebuilders and subsiding them building houses to make up for the fact, that, what? They can’t build houses because house prices are too low and they don’t make a profit selling them?!
No, what’s restricting housebuilding is planning restrictions preventing housebuilding where people want to live… and that’s not going to get lifted very much because it would massively piss off the two core Tory constituencies of old people retired to the countryside and rich greenbelt commuters, so let’s just engage in a little pointless industrial subsidy instead! (Why not just shortcircuit this by requiring the councils whose planning committees are restricting housebuilding to contract out the building of a certain number of houses themselves? But that would conflict with the apparent goal of simultaneously giving power to councils while removing all sources of funding from them, plus it’s too much like what a Labour government might do… not that they’re any better: they wear ideological blinders just as the Tories do. Plus, fundamentally the green belts are there because they’re *popular*, even among people who don’t live in them. Build houses on them in large numbers and even those who personally benefit might vote against you)
There’s more war on the young in this one, but I’m no longer surprised to see that. The Economist has been warning for some time about this sort of policymaking leading to likely intergenerational conflict in the not too distant future… but maybe that’s too much a pinko commie rag for the Tories to pay attention to. It’s not like they’re exactly hot on evidence-based policy (or on taking advice from anyone when it contradicts their ideology) in any case.
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