I’m not taking any marriage tax break
Priority housing status for workers is meaningless if there are no houses
Scotland gains – but will the SNP government put its new money where its mouth is?
The Scottish Government can now plan to spend this money in line with its priorities. The rest of the UK is already ahead of Scotland in providing childcare support, free school meals and, with this Autumn Statement, support for the high street too so that the shops we value and rely on get a little money back to help them succeed.
The Scottish Government has been given the money to do these things too. They can match the help that families and businesses are getting in other parts of the UK. They could crack on with childcare package they announced last week, but are making conditional on a yes vote to independence. They can do these things, or they can spend the money elsewhere. These are the choices that they must make.
Let’s just say I’m not going to be holding my breath.
More measures to help young people into work
Employers’ National Insurance Contributions will be abolished for under 21s. This is a good thing. I’d have liked to have seen it accompanied, though, by equalisation of the national minimum wage. Often, under 21s do exactly the same work as those over 21, yet their is a £2.59 per hour difference in what they are paid. But, of course, these large profitable companies that employ young people on the minimum wage couldn’t possibly afford that, could they?
And while we’re on young people, Osborne did make a lot of the fact that the applications for university from people from poorer backgrounds were at highest level. This issue is painful for us, and rightly so, but the assertions from Labour that no poor young person would ever be able to go to university again were clearly nonsense.
Why do MPs have to behave like brats?
If you aren’t a political anorak, chances are the only time you’ll see the House of Commons on tv is for the big set-piece occasions like Prime Minister’s Questions, the Budget and the Autumn Statement. You are therefore likely to come away with the idea that MPs are a bunch of rude, uncouth, loud, unpleasant brats who can’t just sit nicely and listen to what is being said. As Nick Robinson said on the Daily Politics, it’s done on purpose to put the speaker off, to make them look all red-faced and flustered. Ed Balls was dying on his backside perfectly well without the rabble from the braying Tories.
Seriously, though, people think that politicians are like that all the time when actually, when you take them out of that bear pit, most of them are decent human beings who you could happily have a pint with. It’s not good for politics when they behave like that. The economy isn’t just about numbers and debts and deficits. What they are discussing has a direct effect on people’s lives in many ways every single day, whether it’s the amount of pay they take home, or how much it costs them to fill their car or heat their homes. The very least they could do is take it seriously, especially when so many people are really struggling. MPs should think about this the next time they descend into juvenile banter.
Again, I won’t be holding my breath.