Monday, 20 April 2009

Budget wishes

It is the budget later this week and once again I have drawn up a fanciful wishlist of things that must be done right now to boost the umbrella economy.

As usual BUBB will be calling for the old chestnuts around tax and VAT reform. Finance is not my area and I don't pretend to understand the technical points around these proposed measures. Nor do I need to as my colleagues at the Canopy Tax Group and Steve Crikey's bunch at the Canopy Finance Directors' Group have sorted all that out, as is their job. But that doesn't stop me shouting as loud as I can in support of their ideas in the hope that some credit can be deflected my way in the unlikely event of the government listening.

I have also been forthright in my calls for an umbrella bank to be set up. Indeed I was due to attend an event that the PM was speaking at today to heckle him about it. Unfortunately, due to a mix up over the exact details of the venue I was stood at Loughborough Junction train station while Gordon was at some university known for sporting achievement in the Midlands.

Still, the fact remains that there is a massive pool of unclaimed umbrellas in the UK - umbrellas that get left behind on trains, in pubs, restaurants etc. Rather than just let them sit there waiting indefinitely for their owner to claim them back BUBB is calling for the establishment of an umbrella bank so that people on low incomes can take them out on loan. I really don't see why the government is dragging its heels over this. Surely there can be nothing difficult about setting up a bank - a simple business model that never goes wrong - so why the caution?

There are a number of other measures I would like to see in the budget to help narrow the gap between rich and poor. This issue is brilliantly explored in Milly Coinfee's superb anti-capitalist polemic "The rich look after themselves and don't care about the poor? Shit, why didn't we realise this before?" that she is pushing like crazy and selling by the bucketload.

Something needs to be done about tax havens and non-domiciled rich cats avoiding tax (while making sure my modest investments in a post office on the Isle of Wight are left alone of course). I would also cite a number of areas where tax relief would help stimulate the economy. Binge drinking is a real growth area in the UK and the way we have upped our game is truly impressive. This needs to be further encouraged so duty needs to be slashed on alcohol. There should also be tax cuts on dog food, croissants, Blackberry usage and name dropping.

Finally, returning to measures to boost umbrella usage I would like to see the introduction of Daily Intermittent Light Drizzle Orders, which can be imposed by the powers that be to ensure rain on a regular basis, thus promoting the need for umbrellas. The last thing the umbrella sector needs at the minute is a long dry summer. The government has to act now to ensure a miserable July and August to keep umbrellas, and spirits, raised.


  1. Robin, at a time when the country is evidently on its knees due to unemployment (even my sister's crappy local government job is under threat), umbrellas surely pose the solution to job creation. All we need is more rain. Therefore Robin you should ask for today's budget to include a £500m investment in cloud seeding. All that extra rain will surely stimulate the production of umbrellas, not to mention windscreen wipers. Just imagine the headlines (sorry, I meant impact): Bogg saves car industry! Bogg tackles climate change!

  2. A nice idea and in line with my thinking on the drizzle orders described above. But is £500m enough? Surely we can come up with a more pie in the sky figure than that. Your mention of windscreen wipers is interesting. The Windscreen Wiper Fund is a high profile body (you may remember their well publicised court case with the World Wrestling Federation over the use of the WWF acronym) who we have previosuly refused to work with for the usual petty territorial reasons. But in these desperate times we may have to lean on each other in the hope that when we emerge into the good times again, we can still all stand up straight.