The cheque book Chancellor who can’t say no

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City Comment: Who is the Conservative Party for, a few surprises?

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The ISHI craze was bragging yesterday that its energy aid package was “more generous” than anything Labor had proposed.

The city would be fine as long as it was just politics, as long as private meetings where the real thing happens, at least to show that its ambition is less liberal, not more.

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Instead, whatever his personal instincts, it seems clear to the folks at the Square Mile that Sunak will remain the check-book chancellor.

The compassionate view is that politically and economically, they have little choice. Times are tough.

But two questions are plaguing the city; 1) When does it stop? 2) What is the point of the Conservative Party if it is not to show fiscal prudence? To say no to the kids, at least for the time being.

Back in 1989, Chancellor John Major said of his inflation control plans: “If it ain’t hurting, it ain’t working.”

It is impossible to imagine Sunak or the Prime Minister saying so.

The unpredictable tax on the oil and gas giant is problematic not because of the money, but because of the mixed message.

Handled correctly, oil majors would happily pay if they were free to go as they would otherwise.

Instead the tax increase is linked to an “investment allowance.” So they are taxed and told what to do for decades in some cases.

A tax or an investment commitment was fine; Both seem harsh and difficult to manage.

Former minister John Redwood said: “It’s bad politics because if Britain gets a reputation as a place where you come and invest, you lose money and you keep losses, and you come and go.” You make money when you invest and the taxpayer takes a huge extra piece of it.”

he is right.

Credit: www.standard.co.uk /

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