I’ve just watched the budget and Mr. Brown. Interesting stuff politically – an obvious push to set the agenda towards the next election. Many of the announcements come into effect not this April but the April after. From a MoneySaving perspective the cash ISAs allowance going up to £3,600 (and overall ISA limit to £7.200) is interesting, but doesn’t happen until 2008. There’s also the decrease of VAT on nicotine patches.
Otherwise apart from some petrol duty tweaks, most of it was tax, benefit, public purse and macro-economic changes. Of course this is no surprise, but I’ve spent much of today and yesterday saying “no, I’m sorry” for interview requests on the budget. Not that it isn’t interesting, but the general impact on MoneySaving (as opposed to money itself) is very limited. The media is a voracious beast; I’ve spent many years building up my credentials, so that thankfully I’m now asked to be ‘the expert’ on many occasions. Yet it’s then stretched to assume I can do many other subjects such as “macro-economics” or “business punditry”, “investing” or “tax credit assessments” – yet actually these aren’t my subjects. While I may present on those subjects, I wouldn’t want to ‘expert’ on them.
Even when I say no I often get “yes but we want someone lively who people understand” and it’s easy to get tempted. In the past as I was building up my career, and the demand wasn’t as high, I’ve done so – spending days genning up on subjects outside of my usual comfort zone. Yet this year my basic decision is to avoid the budget. Having watched the brilliant Evan Davis and Nick Robinson on BBC2 giving the split second analysis, I’m very glad I did. Of course on the MoneySaving issues, I’m happy to talk, and if asked, in passing I’m happy to give a generalised view (and I’m doing the Wright Stuff this week, which is a general ‘gob on a stick’ job on all subjects including sexually transmitted infections this morning, so I’m sure I’ll mention it there), but otherwise this year my budget punditry shall be kept to a minimum.