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Budget poll
Balgove
tobyaw
Having had some time to think about the budget, and to hear the arguments being expressed about the various measures, I think that I broadly approve. I can’t make up my mind about the VAT increase though — is it a better tax to increase than NI or income tax?

So time for another poll. (To fill in the poll you’ll need a LiveJournal account, or you can log in with an OpenID.)

Poll #1582885 Budget poll

What did you think of the budget? (1 = disapprove, 5 = approve)

Mean: 3.18 Median: 3 Std. Dev 0.83
1
0(0.0%)
2
3(27.3%)
3
3(27.3%)
4
5(45.5%)
5
0(0.0%)

Which budget measures do you approve of?

VAT increase
0(0.0%)
Public sector pay freeze
0(0.0%)
Child benefit frozen
0(0.0%)
Housing benefit cuts
0(0.0%)
Disability Living Allowance cuts
0(0.0%)
Tax cut for lowest paid
0(0.0%)
Two year council tax freeze
0(0.0%)
Capital Gains Tax increased
0(0.0%)
Bank levy
0(0.0%)
NI tax holiday for job creation outside South-East of England
0(0.0%)

Who do you trust most to run the country’s finances?

George Osborne and Danny Alexander
3(27.3%)
Alistair Darling and Liam Byrne
1(9.1%)
somebody else
5(45.5%)
nobody
2(18.2%)

How should the government debt be reduced?

Mostly spending cuts, with some tax increases
4(36.4%)
Split evenly between spending cuts and tax increases
5(45.5%)
Some spending cuts, and lots of tax increases
2(18.2%)
Leave it alone! We need to borrow in order to spend our way out of the recession.
0(0.0%)

Increasing which taxes will do least damage to the economy? (percentages from 2008)

Income tax (29% of revenue)
0(0.0%)
NI (19% of revenue)
0(0.0%)
VAT (15% of revenue)
2(18.2%)
Corporation tax (9% of revenue)
0(0.0%)
Fuel duties (5% of revenue)
0(0.0%)
Council tax (5% of revenue)
0(0.0%)

What do you think about the public sector workforce?

They work hard for little money and little credit. They should be treasured and valued. Leave them alone.
6(60.0%)
They have cushy working conditions and gold-plated pensions. They should wake up and feel the pain that the private sector has been feeling since the recession started.
4(40.0%)

Should…

…universal benefits be means tested?
0(0.0%)
…Trident be cancelled?
0(0.0%)
…the international aid budget be reduced? (it is currently ring-fenced)
0(0.0%)
…the NHS budget be reduced? (it is currently ring-fenced)
0(0.0%)
…MPs receive neither salary nor expenses?
0(0.0%)
…Scotland, Wales and NI have independent tax raising powers?
1(9.1%)
…the army, air force, and navy, be merged to create a single service?
0(0.0%)
…under-funded final-salary pension schemes be closed?
0(0.0%)

Who is most to blame for the financial crisis?

Labour, for increasing the structural deficit even when the economy was booming.
5(45.5%)
Banks, for taking unnecessarily high risks, and failing to protect themselves and their customers.
6(54.5%)
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I`d love to know where the 'cushy working conditions and gold-plated pensions' are in the Civil Service. They sure as hells aren`t over here in NI, where we`ve been underpaid (and for that matter, under terrorist threat) for decades. This is yet another case of victimising the defenceless. We get repeatedly treated like shit and lied to by an un-appreciative management, government and public who blame us when we fail to perform miracles.

That is the great discrepancy in the public sector. The wage bills and pension obligations are scarily, unaffordably high, but individual salaries and pensions are often low. (Although perhaps not anything like as low as for similar private sector positions, which also often have worse working conditions and job security.)

It is clear that government spending is going to reduce significantly. The government is concentrating on freezing public sector pay, investigating changes to public sector pensions, and in some areas freezing recruitment. I suppose the alternative to this is lots of job losses, often in economically vulnerable areas of the UK.

I suspect that many working in the private sector look at the high cost and the sheer bulk of the public sector workforce with horror, and wonder how it could ever have been allowed to get so big. (And why areas of the country could be allowed to become dependent on the public sector for the majority of their employment.)

I suspect that many working in the private sector look at the high cost and the sheer bulk of the public sector workforce with horror, and wonder how it could ever have been allowed to get so big.

Absolutely. The size of the public sector workforce, together with the challenges (costs) presented by an aging population, and to some extent the size of the service sector have made the "dependency ratio" in the UK economy clearly unsustainable.

A big failure of the prior government was addressing short-term issues through unsustainable borrowing without addressing the hard questions of the longer-term sustainability of the UK economy. I'd like to see the current government thinking more about longer-term sustainability, but they probably have enough on their plate managing a difficult current economic situation.

individual salaries and pensions are often low. (Although perhaps not anything like as low as for similar private sector positions,

I, for one, would be getting significantly more doing what I do in the private sector...

But your job is rather specialised. And not at the low end of the salary scale.

May I go so far as to suggest that doctors don’t match the profile of typical public-sector employees.

Also true. But I am part of that generalised 'We pay public sector workers too much. We must freeze their pay'. As we've had below inflation wage 'increases' for the last 5 years..... More of the same, basically.

Below inflation increases? Many private sector companies have frozen wages for the past few years.

But in a way you are a special case — the coalition government has “ring-fenced” NHS spending, so presumably you won’t experience the massive disruption that other areas of the public sector will face.

Contrast the way doctors were treated with nurses and firefighters and police, tho'. We did significantly worse, alas. (Largely cos the BMA couldn't find their arse with both hands and a roadmap, and additionally doctor bashing is significantly easier than picking on those angellic nurses...)

I suspect we'll get lots of disruption, in sneaky ways. And of course, there's the knock on stuff- when social spending goes down, beds get blocked in hospitals, impacting care. We can't operate on people we can't get into beds.

Since I moved to working in the public sector (University) I have had a pay rise every year, either a proper rise or moving up a pay spline, this did not happen in a private company. The pension I have now has earned in 3.5 years the equivalent value it took 7 years of private pension to earn, with me making the same or lower % contribution to the public sector pension. When I moved my 11 years of private pension in it only bought 5.5 years of public sector pension.

Since most of us in the Civil Service are on well less than the 21K they`re freezing the pay rises at I shudder to think what the Private Sector gets over here.
In case you didn`t know, the last time the govt raised the minimum wage they then had to raise the wages for an AA over here as they were now in breach of their own minimum wage laws.
And don`t forget that the Public Sector includes nurses, firemen, police officers, teachers, university staff and all those other jobs the public despise and attack right up until they need us to do something.

I think George Osborne and David Laws are who I would trust most. Danny is a good second option.

I agree on David Laws - as I posted on Facebook, it was unfortunate for the government that Laws had to resign as he was a real asset. Someone with real world experience in finance who clearly had real understanding of his subject, as opposed to a career politician.

Yes, I should have had “Osborne & Laws” as an option in the poll.

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