Pre-budget blog – what’s important?Posted by alex in blog March 20, 2012
It is that time of year again. Tomorrow, the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will make a speech to parliament, outlining his spending priorities– essentially a summary of economic policy for the year ahead.
Because money makes the world go round, the budget speech is one of the most significant regular events of the political year. It is where we learn where the government will spend and save and, by conclusion, what our political leaders view as important, and not.
We won’t need to wait until tomorrow to know that, politically speaking, these are bad times for sustainable development. The Green Deal bumbles towards underachievement at best, renewable energy subsidies are cut, and we are returned to the dark ages of the growth-versus-the-environmental rhetoric. Quite aside from the government only just having woken up to the fact that one of the most important international negotiations on sustainable development for years in happening in June in Rio. Environmental sustainability will not feature, in any prominent way, in the budget, let alone in the chancellor’s address to parliament – we’ll be lucky if the Green Deal gets a mention.
However, this is an opportunity. It gives us a chance to look at sometimes more neglected areas of sustainability: economic and social. Apart from the absence of any sympathy to the environmental agenda, an analysis of economic and social sustainability in this budget gives rise for plenty of debate, because sustainability is about meeting today’s needs without infringing future generations’ ability to do the same. And that’s about more than the environment.
What do you think are the most important issues in terms of economic and social sustainability?
- Is it about equality in the tax system – in light of the probable lowering of the top rate of income tax?
- Or healthcare, given the recent controversies about the Health and Social Care Bill?
- How important is banking regulation and calls for a Tobin tax?
- And what about the Big Society, which seems to have been buried in the political rhetoric of the front bench, but will be surely run like a silent, red thread through this budget?
I will be blogging again after the budget speech, so what should I be looking out for?