BUDGET DAY

Will George Osborne announce the slaughter of the first born? Perhaps the unemployed will be required to go up chimneys? The BBC – led by Stephanie “Two Eds” Flanders – is setting up Osborne to ensure that whatever is announced later will be wrong. It’s as if the reason for deficit reduction had no connection with the government that preceded the Coalition. Let’s capture the budget bias as we roll through the day….

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16 Responses to BUDGET DAY

  1. Gerald says:

    The view on Today seemed to be that all the budget details had been leaked so no surprises expected.

    A major difference to be noted is that it isn’t Peston and Robinson breathlessly telling it to us first. I wonder why.

    Do I remember right P & R were briefed that VAT was going up so let us in on the “secret” only for GB to squash it between briefing and speech?

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  2. Andrew says:

    Flanders started a couple of days ago on her blog about how the £ in your pocket is buying less.  In that blog post and on today’s budget coverage she is repeating the findings of the IFS study.

    Of course she keeps talking about earnings not keeping pace with inflation.  Bit of a sticky wicket for her though as she is forced to acknowledge that wage rises can fuel inflation.  What she also omits from her analysis of wages not rising is that the IFS admit in their study that real numbers do not exist for wages and that they have had to model the data in order to create their findings.

    And finally when we go out to the regions to see the effect on the budget where do we go Hull.  Ah yes, that would be John Prescott’s old stomping ground along with the public sector patronage that came with being in a labour stronghold.

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  3. John says:

    1149: BBC business editor Robert Peston tweets: “I have just started marathon 4 hour #bbcbudget broadcast. U have been warned. Goodness only knows what rubbish I’ll be spouting in 240 mins”

    You don’t say?

    4 hours = “a marathon”, has this fella never done a full days work?

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    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Four hours of fretting about how to shift blame away from Gordon Brown must be a daunting task indeed.

      Having said that, it’s torture to listen to Peston talk, whether he’s spouting rubbish or not. 

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  4. Craig says:

    Remember how the BBC would cut short its live TV coverage of the Conservative reponse to Labour Budgets, so its commentators could tell us what they thought of Gordon Brown’s glorious announcements?  
     
    Well, their live TV coverage today gave us every second of Ed Miliband’s response. In fact, Huw Edwards was clucking like a mother hen beforehand, so concerned was he that we wouldn’t miss a second of Ed’s silly little speech:  
     
    “We’ll be back in just a few seconds for Labour’s response.”  
    “Let me just remind you of the main measures very quickly before we go back into the chamber.”  
    “Let’s go straight back into the House just to see what’s going on there because I think that the Deputy Speaker is still on his feet. Just going through some of the financial instruments that he’s got to announce before he can call the Labour leader Ed Miliband to give a response to that.”  
    “Let’s join Mr Miliband” (the latter just as Ed began rising to speak).  
     
    How times change!

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  5. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Like a bad party entertainer, Stephanie Flanders knows only one song, which she uses for every occasion.

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  6. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Very amusing how today the BBC is acting as if the figures coming out about rising inflation is somehow part of Osborne’s budget announcement.

    And I’d like to ask the Today producer who arranged Adam Shaw’s business segment at the start of the show why he thinks that Japan’s short-term economic and production setback is also something Osborne was supposed to account for.

    I think David Vance’s post has already explained it: prepare the audience to be disappointed in the Budget, regardless of whether these are fair attacks or not.

    The only thing I will say that it was pretty clear that Ed Balls’s quip that the Budget is wrong because it’s “boring”, because his position is contradicted by the guy from GE Aviation, who said what real businessmen always say about this stuff:  above all else, we want consistency so we can plan long-term.  Shaw didn’t know how to spin that, so moved on to another angle.

    Media types who live on news cycles with the lifespan of a fruit fly never truly understand this point, even if they went to the LSE.

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  7. Sres says:

    Had to switch off the response myself, not only did I need the toilet, but I was late for lunch, I got to the Status Quo revival of down down, from the opposition benches.

    I’m sure that the BBC are currently in their plush chairs working their iPad’s as fast as they can to construe the fact that this budget is a budget of daggers through the hearts of hard working labour activists and we should all take to the streets to denounce the tory led coalition as the work of the devil.  Evil evil evil *point* *gurgle*

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  8. Craig says:

    One of Ed Balls’s main attack lines this afternoon, which he’s trotted out on both the BBC and Sky, is to attack the the tax of the oil companies, “a north sea oil tax, which could depress long term investment in the north sea, who knows?, but could well lead to higher petrol prices because the companies say ‘Just give it back to the consumers’. I fear it doesn’t add up this.”  
     
    Just before his appearance on the BBC, Stephanie Flanders was making this point:  
     
    1433: Economics Editor for the BBC Stephanie Flanders tweets: “Can’t see why energy companies won’t pass on the cost – the stabiliser is related to the world oil price, not pump price. #bbcbudget”  

                
    And after his appearance this one: 
                    
    1556: I asked Danny Alexander what would stop the oil companies passing on the cost of the extra tax onto consumers at the pump. His answer, give or take, was that he didn’t think they would, but they’d be looking out for it. Hmmm.Read Stephanie Flanders’ blog
                                
    Firstly, it’s an interesting coincidence that an attack point Ed Balls is making in each studio he visits is also being made by Stephanie Flanders on various social media sites. Secondly, Ed Balls’s other (opportunistic but telling) point – the one about the possible negative effect of taxes on further investment – doesn’t seem to interest her at all.

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    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      I actually agree with the position that a high tax on oil is ultimately a regressive policy and does more damage than it brings in revenue.  But that doesn’t mean it’s right for the BBC to support a Labour policy instead.

      Just now Laura Kuenssberg is using as much suggestive language as she can to put forth the idea that these Budget schemes probably won’t work and even the Tories are doubtful.

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  9. Scrappydoo says:

    Interesting that BBC commentators dismiss the rise in personal tax allowance as “insignificant” –   When you are on the BBC gravy train, it probably is.

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    • Craig says:

      Yes, they barely mentioned it on the Six O’Clock News. On ITV News though they gave it a short section to itself, spelling out what it would mean for low earners (many taken out of tax altogether), basic rate tax payers (extra £126 a year) and high rate tax payers (no change).

      Even before the Budget this morning, the News Channel was running a message across the screen (for just a few minutes) that said it was expected some 25 million people would be getting “a small cut in income tax”. If Labour had still been in power, I suspect that would have just read “a cut in income tax.”

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  10. Craig says:

    ITV News showed a mixed reaction to the Budget from businesses in Essex, but the 2% cut in Corporation Tax went down very well with a company that manufactures diggers for the construction industry.

    Having been watching Robert Peston this afternoon, that came as a surprise because he kept on stressing – over and over again – that it would be BIG corporations and multi-nationals who would feel the benefit. There was nothing about the benefit to medium-sized companies from him.

    His game was clear, and the title of his latest blog post gives it away:
       A budget for big business
    Lots of talk there about “big multinational companies”.
          
    His blogpost is better than his performance on BBC2/the News Channel this afternoon, where his bias was more blatant. His first contribution (after the Budget) was to say, “Well some people will look at these very substantial tax cuts for big companies and claim that it’s unfair, that somehow Tory ministers are rewarding their friends in big companies, because you look at the numbers – and they are quite big – by 2015/16 the effect of the Corporation Tax change, various other changes to the internation taxation of multi-nationals, they add up to about £2 billion being given back to companies.” After a short, statement review of  “the government’s argument”, he finished his opening gambit with “But I have to say not everybody would accept that argument”. 

    One of the two questions he put to Ed Balls was “There’s a big cut in Corporation Tax, which particular benefits very big companies. Would you have done that?”

    Incidentally, Peston’s hands-off role (except for those easy questions) during the Balls segment was a huge contrast to his manic interrupting of Chief Secretary Danny Alexander earlier on in the programme. He was so keen to undermine Alexander that even Huw Edwards had to stop him with the quip, “Mr Peston, control yourself!”

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  11. George R says:

    BBC-NUJ’s PAUL MASON, Marxist, and Father of the Chapel at ‘Newsnight’ tonight criticises the Coalition government over its Budget and economic policy.

    Mr Mason does not expound on the BBC-NUJ’s budgeting:

    “BBC pension deficit is ‘just over £1.6bn'”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/mar/23/bbc-pension-deficit

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