Budget 2024: Breadlines to Get Longer, Cake to Be in Short Supply

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Jeremy Hunt, Budget
Jeremy Hunt, Budget

Peasants, Rejoice! A Satirical Take on the Tories’ Budget Charade

Well, well, the high and mighty have deigned to share more crumbs from their groaning tables of excess! Today’s Budget ushered forth glad tidings from our overlords in their ivory tower redoubts.

While the rabble struggles through the “cost of living crisis” – a turn of phrase that could only issue from the silk-lined pouches of those blissfully insulated from such vulgar concerns – this wildly out-of-touch Tory government couldn’t even muster the courtesy of offering jam today. It’s a case of ‘”‘Let them eat cake’, as the saying goes…if only we had any bloody cake!

And at long last, we peasants are enlightened as to what these slippery lackeys of capital mean by their much-ballyhooed term “levelling up” bunkum. Why, showering lucre upon the already-engorged plutocrats of Canary Wharf, naturally!

Who among the unwashed masses could have divined that the remarkably level ground of East London’s financial citadel was the true object of Tory levelling efforts?

Who would have thought that Canary Wharf would be a recipient of ‘Levelling Up’ money – when the concept was floated after Brexit was to help the abandoned North?

Of course, the east London skyscraper-laden financial centre has been hit by some major banks rethinking how much office space they need. After all, you don’t need a penthouse and office space to crash an economy, just a laptop and a space on a Cayman Islands beach.

It beggars belief that the chancellor announced £242m for it and the surrounding area to create 8,000 new homes. All out of reach of the working class, leaving up… more like a leg up for the rich…it’s more over-priced, under-sized human storage lockers unaffordable to any but the beau monde. “Levelling up,” we now understand, is the smoothing of any remaining obstructions before untrammelled capital accumulation.

Or is it we forget those poor bankers need a place to live too?

Other little nuggets from the budget include…

greed

Hunt’s big sell, naturally, was a modest trim to the National Insurance shearing of we woolly lambs. How very generous to let the flock retain a few more tufts! Why, some lucky soul on £25,000 may be able to splurge an additional £249 on life’s little luxuries next year. No need to thank our benevolent overlords, you churlish proles.

Meanwhile, those on benefits, who are already struggling to heat their homes and feed their families, can expect a drumroll… for precisely nothing.

And rejoice, ye breeders! More of you slovenly family-makers will be permitted the princely privilege of retaining some paltry child benefits. Praise be that a few extra quid may trickle down to keep your squalling get fed and housed, at least until the blessed dividend tax cuts provide our shareholders a wealthier stream to bathe in.

Instead of starting to lose child benefits once at least one parent earns over £50,000 a year, it will be £60,000. It will be taken away entirely from £80,000 a year, rather than £60,000.

The benefit is worth £24 a week for one child and £15.90 for each additional child. Those amounts are due to rise to £25.60 and £16.95 a week in April.

Overall, the government estimates 485,000 families will gain an average of £1,260 in child benefit in 2024-25 as a result.

By April 2026, the plan is to move it to a system of household income, not that of individuals.

Come on, be fair, private school fees have gone up too.

food banks
“In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” — Confucius, Chinese teacher and philosopher

And for all those folks living the high life as non-doms? Well, your cushy tax status is about to be abolished. But fear not, tax lawyers are already hard at work crafting new loopholes, to ensure you never pay your fair share. But what they’ve done is ensure Labour can’t steal from the rich to give to the poor.

All the works and wonders Starmer and Reeves envisioned from the non-doms tax clawback will be tied up and airtight in new tax legislation, after all, aren’t we here just to serve…

But let’s not be too negative – there were a few more breadcrumbs tossed amid the fanciful headline grabbers.

The ever-dwindling Household Support Fund will sputter on to facilitate more malnutrition gruel from on high. And huzzah, we can also look forward to the thrilling prospect of not having to pay £90 for debt relief orders. Oh, the joy! Just remember, commoners, bread may be out of reach, but at least you won’t be burdened by that pesky debt relief fee, hurrah!

Small mercies and longer in debt – The repayment period for people on universal credit to pay back budgeting loans has risen from 12 to 24 months.

Naturally, any imagined relief is to be clawed back through vice taxes and levies. The pious must continue paying penance for their tawdry pleasures like cigarettes, vaping, and (from April 2028) even alcoholic frivolity. best start stockpiling the creature comforts now before prices soar!

Feeling generous?

Well, the government has a brand new “British Isa” just for you! Save your hard-earned cash and funnel it directly into British businesses! It’s like charity, but with a tax break! Just don’t ask where that money is actually going, or what happens if those businesses go bust.

Savers will be allowed to save £5,000 a year into the British Isa, on top of the existing Isa allowance of £20,000. Save it! Most haven’t even got it to spend it.

But fear not, property owners! While the government cracks down on those pesky holiday lets, you can rejoice in a reduction in the higher rate of property capital gains tax. Who needs affordable housing when you can make a tidy profit off selling your second (or third) home, eh?

Oh, and don’t forget about the benefits, pensions, and wages! Those are all going up… in line with inflation, which is still outpacing wages by a mile. But hey, at least it’s not going down, right? Right?

After all, we’ve got to keep the grey-haired vote happy, there’s none of us getting any younger…

The state pension, as previously announced, will go up by 8.5% in April, which means it will be worth:

  • £221.20 a week for the full, new flat-rate state pension (for those who reached state pension age after April 2016)
  • £169.50 a week for the full, old basic state pension (for those who reached state pension age before April 2016)

We also knew that the National Living Wage for over-23s – paid by employers – will rise from £10.42 an hour to £11.44 an hour in April, with increases for younger workers too.

And let’s not forget the council tax increases! Because while some are getting a tax cut, others will be forced to dig even deeper into their pockets to pay for local services. But hey, at least the council gets to keep the lights on, right?

Now run along, you rabble, and doff your flat caps in renewed gratitude to your selfless political superiors.

This “levelling up” agenda clearly means all society’s levelling down towards equal abasement. But worry not – this democratic road to serfdom at least affords a grandstand view of the nobility’s banqueting revels from the ditch where we naturally belong!

For have you forgotten TINA – there is no alternative to worshipping at the altar of capital. Now eat your gruel and be grateful, you murmuring malcontents!

Budget 2024: All the key measures at a glance

 Here are all Jeremy Hunt’s headline budget announcements:

  • National insurance cut by 2p in April – from 10% to 8%;
  • Freeze on alcohol duty extended until February 2025;
  • 5p cut to fuel duty to continue for 12 months;
  • Abolishment of non-dom status – a Labour idea that will raise £2.7bn a year;
  • High Income Child Benefit Charge threshold raised from £50,000 to £60,000;
  • Introduction of British ISA, allowing extra £5,000 investments in UK;
  • VAT registration threshold for businesses upped from £85,000 to £90,000;
  • £1m towards memorial for Muslims who died in two World Wars;
  • Repayment period doubled to 24 months for new budgeting advance loans for low-income people;
  • £90 charge for obtaining debt relief order abolished;
  • Household Support Fund kept at current level for six months;
  • £45m for medical charities, including £3m for Cancer Research UK;
  • Nearly £6bn for the NHS, including £3.4bn for “outdated” IT systems;
  • £75m for violence reduction units and “hotspot policing”;
  • £105m over next four years to build 50 special free schools;
  • Introduction of excise duty on vaping products and one-off increase in tobacco duty;
  • Reduction of higher capital gains tax rate on property from 28% to 24%.
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