Bumpy Economic Ride Ahead - Droitwich Standard

Brace yourselves ladies and gentlemen, and tighten your seatbelts. We could be in for a bumpy ride.

Financial turbulence is winging its way to the UK and we're not well prepared, because Gordon Brown didn't put anything on one side for a rainy day.

That's the real message of new Chancellor Alistair Darling's Budget speech last week

Government ministers, who for the past decade have basked in the reflective glory of a strong international economy, are now rapidly distancing themselves from the problems. But the simple fact is that, because Darling's predecessor didn't prepare for tough times, the UK is ill-prepared to weather any economic storm that might hit.

So the Chancellor had to increase borrowing again - adding substantially to our national debt. The only major economies with a bigger debt problem this year are Hungary, Egypt and Pakistan.

While he put up income tax for our poorest families, the he tried to don the mantle of environmental crusader. But green taxes should be replacement taxes, not new stealth taxes. Nor should they undermine British manufacturing. Land Rover and Jaguar are vital sources of employment in the West Midlands and are set to be hit hard by increases in taxes of up to 42% on larger vehicles. And there should be exemptions for those who rely on 4x4s for their livelihood, such as farmers.
Despite the Government's insistence that the UK is ready for the worst, be in no doubt, Budget 2008 was a budget driven by panic. Too late, the Government has realised it has been caught snoozing on the job - that Gordon Brown didn't fix the roof while the sun was shining, but it's all of us who are going to pay the price.

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