The kindest cut...
While analysing the welter of information coming in about the coalition government's first budget, including responses from a range of civil society organisations, one small cut has been overlooked.
It's nothing that will cause harm or alarm, I'm glad to report - unless you are a sub-editor. For somehow an extra U (which, in the circumstances, needs to be rendered non-U) crept into the Chancellor of the Exchequer's name in our reporting earlier today.
In fact it's Osborne, not Osbourne. Sorry about that, George Gideon Oliver. No free lunch for us now, I guess?
Anyway, the appropriate cut has duly been made. And this time, it's necessary - and targeted against the rich.
For Mr Osborne, who assures us that he will share in the pain he is inflicting (just like the average jobless, homeless, disabled person on a sink estate, I'm sure) is a rather wealthy heir to the Osborne baronetcy of Ballentaylor in County Tipperary and part of the old Anglo-Irish aristocracy known as 'the Ascendancy'.
In 2009, the now Chancellor received criticism for his handling of parliamentary expenses, after he was found to have 'flipped' his second home: changing which property he designated as his second home in order to pay less capital gains tax. (No wonder he didn't want to put that one up too much!)
The net cost of this has been estimated at £55,000 to the public purse, and Mr Osborne had previously paid back £1,193 on overpayments on his mortgage and chauffeur fares. He is also reported to have claimed £47 for two copies of a DVD of his own speech on "value for taxpayers' money". Public benefit, perhaps?
Meanwhile, for up-to-the-minute reporting and comment on the 2010 emergency budget, go to: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/Budget2010
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