Pre-election budgets “help you strengthen a specific
story,” according to Tim Bale, professor of politics at
Queen Mary, University of London. “If you look back at pre-election spending plans the opposition constantly states ‘bribery!’, but the
problem is: you acknowledge the success of budgets if you accuse
it of being vote grabbing.”
Neither the Tories nor Labour have been able to open a.
lead in the opinion surveys, which suggests that both will wind up.
well brief of a parliamentary majority, requiring support from.
smaller sized parties to pass legislation.
Six decades earlier, Chancellor Rab Butler cut income-tax rates.
and raised the earnings level at which tax began to be paid. The.
Tories, led by Anthony Eden, enhanced their bulk in the Houseyour home.
of Commons in the 1955 election.
After the election was victoried, the government reversed a number of.
of the tax cuts and raised interest rates. The Labour opposition.
accused the Conservatives at the time of a fiscal policy that.
was “calculated to trick the electorate and was designed for.
In 1983, as Margaret Thatcher combateddefended a second term.
after winning the 1982 Falklands War, Chancellor Geoffrey Howe.
offered income-tax cuts and additional tax relief on home mortgage.
payments. Howe, whose earlier budgets had actually provoked the ire of.
economists for pressing government spending throughout a recession,.
transferred to the Foreign Workplace after the election.
An expanding economy and state possession sales allowed his.
successor, Nigel Lawson, to cut the basic tax rate to 27 percent.
from 29 percent in his budget plan prior to the 1987 election, which.
the Tories also won.
“Then there was excellent evidence to recommend the economy was.
boiling over but since of hubris, maybe electoral.
considerations,” the tax cuts went on, Bale said. It was a.
“bribes spending plan,” according to the Labour leader at the time,.
And in March 1992, Chancellor Norman Lamont brought in a.
minimized 20 percent starting rate of income tax. While the.
Conservatives lost votes in the following month’s election, they.
still eked out victory when bookies and experts expected them.
The step “entirely wrong-footed Labour, who were not.
sure whether to oppose or support a low rate band since of its.
appearance of assistance for the lower paid,” Lamont later wrote.
“Looking back on it, it was not a very goodan excellent budget plan. But it did.
help us victory the 1992 election.”
‘Best Spending plan’.
Lamont’s post-election spending plan in 1993, formed with the help.
of his young assistant, David Cameron, revealed big tax increases on.
home gas and electricity. That “was certainly my best.
spending plan” even though it later contributed to the Conservatives’.
electoral death, Lamont wrote.
Not everybody shares that view.
For Ken Clarke, the Tory chancellor two years back, “no.
spending plan prior to an election has in fact made a distinction to an.
election outcome in living memory,” he said recently in a BBC.
Clarke’s final budget plan in 1996 cut taxes on income and.
inheritance and boosted public spending on health and education.
Still, that and a growing economy didn’t prevent Tony Blair’s.
Labour Party victorying the election by a landslide majority a few.
In the middle of the financial crisis that eclipsed completion of 13.
years of Labour policy under Blair and Gordon Brown, there could.
be no desire of a pre-election free gift in 2010.
Thanks to higher spending on civil services and a deep.
economic downturn that had actually cut into tax earnings, Brown’s chancellor,.
Alistair Darling, had little freedom to reward voters. Leaving.
government seven weeks later on, his No. 2 at the Treasury, Liam.
Byrne, left a written note to his successor reading “I’m afraid hesitate.
to tell you there’s no money left.”
Now, state borrowing is about half exactly what it was five years.
earlier as a share of the economy. Lower-than-anticipated inflation.
is cutting the cost of servicing index-linked bonds, allowing.
the government some wiggle room to alleviate austerity while sticking.
to its public deficit targets.
Possible spending plan statements by Osborne tomorrow include.
an increase in the inheritance-tax limit, according to.
government files seen by the Guardian, and tax relief for.
the North Sea oil and gas market, which has actually been struck by a.
downturn in oil costs.
A cut to earnings tax and beer responsibility, and a minimum wage.
boost above a recommended 3 percent, are all probable.
alternatives, according to Morgan Stanley.
Faced with a knife-edge election contest, Osborne may have.
weighed skeptically the suggestions offered by Ken Clarke recently.
“Overlook all this rubbish you always enter a pre-election.
budget plan about how it’s all down to you to offer cash away,” the.
previous chancellor said. “The general public are not silly; they’re not.
anticipating you to shower them with cash.”
To contact the press reporter on this story:.
Tom Beardsworth in London at.
To call the editors liable for this story:.
Fergal O’Brien at.
Eddie Buckle, Andrew Atkinson