I am gripped by the debacle over the apparently discarded pre Budget report policy to raise VAT.
It’s fascinating, not for the policy itself, but for what it tells us about the policy setting process itself. Interestingly, it sort of indicates that in the ideas stage there was nothing off limits.
I am little puzzled about the furore surrounding the policy itself though. It can’t be any worse that what the chancellor told us on national insurance contributions. The fact is, like making a movie, plenty of stuff must end up on the cutting room floor.
Here’s some stuff that also might have been discarded as not feasible
* Chancellor resigns (not good for self esteem)
* Gordon Brown takes on Treasury along with being PM and for good measure decides he should be foreign secretary too (not good for reputation of government)
* Chancellor announces that national insurance will be done away with and income tax simply raised so we can all understand our tax bills properly
* Chancellor suspends stamp duty, for a limited period only, and back dates suspension five years (roughly the time I bought my flat)
* Chancellor allows tax free pensions and tells public sector it can no longer have final salary schemes
* All childcare costs up to starting school to be offset against tax bill of main bread winner (Yes, I’ve got a nipper costing me a fortune)
I could go on, I bet you could name a couple of dozen policies that could have been announced, but were binned. Let me know what your favourites would have been.
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