Toy Neal: Raise a hand if you are going to put our taxes up

Uh-oh. Former Chancellor Philip Hammond says the public needs to learn some “home truths” on the economy.

Rishi – Dr Jekyll or Dr Hyde?
Rishi – Dr Jekyll or Dr Hyde?

And when a former Chancellor of the Exchequer says such a thing ahead of a Budget, you know what he means. He means there’s no such thing as a free lunch and get ready for taxes to go up.

Rishi Sunak is the most socialist Chancellor in modern history who has thrown money about with such abandon that Labour doesn’t know where to position itself and might even find itself in the unusual role of defending business against extra taxes.

He has embarked on a well-meaning project to bankrupt Britain, and probably had no choice in view of the pandemic.

His furlough scheme, which looks like it is going to be extended yet again, has been a pump primer for fraud with public money being paid to non-existent furloughing workers at non-existent companies. If there was a snap census there would probably never through history have been more employees in Britain’s workforce with the name M Mouse and D Duck.

The Government has also spent zillions on buying protective health equipment which has had to go in the bin because it does not meet the required standard and is basically rubbish, and yet more last summer contributing taxpayers’ cash so that people could have chicken and chips in a basket (can you still get that?) at their local pub.

The result of all that is that Rishi has been seen by some as one of the Government’s star performers at a difficult time.

So this Budget is going to mark the point when Rishi transforms from the kindly Dr Jekyll to the evil Dr Hyde. We shall see how deep his popularity runs when he stops scoring the goals and handing out wads to the cheering crowd, and starts to kick people in the shins.

But who can he take money from? Well, there’s rich pensioners for one. It is reported that he is planning a stealth tax raid. It’s something to do with the pension pot threshold, but as the figure of £1 million has been mentioned, I suspect it isn’t going to affect ordinary Star readers.

That is the art of being a Chancellor – bashing rich people or wealthy corporations that ordinary people who are struggling to make ends meet don’t empathise with.

Rishi Sunak. Pic: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

It’s also been reported that people working in the NHS will be denied a pay rise. So he’s going to be mean to our heroes. Mind you, anybody getting a pay rise during the middle of a public health and economic crisis can count themselves lucky, so everybody is in the same boat on that one. And that does of course presuppose they are still in work in the first place.

I notice electric cars are becoming more popular, and they are expensive too so it’s better off people getting them. What about an electric car tax? Relax, that’s actually my preview of what will happen a few years down the line.

On the health front the Government is mulling over the issue of vaccine passports, where it is surely only a matter of whether there is an official scheme, or a non-official de facto one. No foreign country is going to welcome Britons arriving on holiday if they have not been vaccinated.

And when you go to see the ballet, would you be happy to be among a non-vaccinated audience? (I don’t go to the ballet myself, but I hear that some people do).

Lastly north of the border Queen Nicola is in a spot of bother which may or may not take some of the lustre off her crown as a result of accusations by her predecessor which may or may not be wild.

The SNP is arguably the most powerful single political force in the UK at the moment but doesn’t seem to come under much scrutiny, with commentators mostly either being fawning or hampered by English guilt.

If Queen Nicola faces some testing questions, about time too.

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