BELT-tightening is the name of the game in the Spelman household with some wise advice from Granny Spelman that we rein in on Christmas presents this year. I expect these are the kind of conversations taking place around the kitchen table of most homes in Britain.
This week we have seen the reduction in VAT from 17.5 per cent to 15 per cent, but many questions have been raised about the effectiveness of such a measure. The intention is for it to keep us spending.
But it is likely that it will only be those who buy a large ticket item who will actually feel the benefit – and they will probably be looking more for which retailer offers the best discount.
But to pay for the VAT cut and the other measures laid out in last week’s emergency budget, the Government has put the country into even more debt.
Unsustainable borrowing now means one of two things later: higher taxes or spending cuts. We have already learnt that Labour will go for the higher taxes option after the next election. The Conservative way forward would be for spending restraint and to set up an Office for Budgetary Responsibility.
This should bring stability to the public finances and pave the way for permanent, fully costed tax cuts in the future.
What is planned for the future may not be of much comfort to the many hundreds of local people losing their jobs every day. Each time I turn on the news at the moment I seem to hear of more job losses. Whether its lay-offs at Jaguar Land Rover or at the airport, it is likely we are just beginning to feel the impact of job losses locally
There is never a good time to be in such a situation, but so close to Christmas makes the loss even greater. My heart goes out to everyone affected in this way.
Without trying to paint too gloomy a picture, it looks as if the situation is going to get worse before it gets better. So it’s time to take the advice of Granny Spelman, it’s time to tighten our belts.