Voices: Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget: What he said – and what he really meant

·2-min read

What Kwasi Kwarteng said: People … will have heard reports that their already expensive energy bills could reach as high as £6,500 next year. We were never going to let that happen.

What he really meant: It never occurred to us that the state should decide gas and electricity prices until Labour proposed it.

What he said: The UK today has the second lowest debt-to-GDP ratio of any G7 country.

What he meant: We have sounder public finances than other countries. I am determined to put an end to that.

What he said: The Office for Budget Responsibility will publish a full economic and fiscal forecast before the end of the year, with a second to follow in the new year.

What he meant: The OBR can offer its irrelevant guesses about what might happen in the future, which have always been wrong, by the way, at Christmas, when no one is paying attention.

What he said: Based on recent prices, the total cost of the energy package for the six months from October is expected to be around £60 billion.

What he meant: If I say the number quietly no one will notice. And it is only for half a year. The figure for increased borrowing this year in the document I’m publishing is £72bn, but most people don’t know the difference between a million and a billion anyway.

What he said: We are at the beginning of a new era.

What he meant: We have got rid of those New Labour puppets Cameron, Osborne, May, Hammond, Johnson and Sunak.

What he said: We can announce that in the coming months we will bring forward a new Bill to unpick the complex patchwork of planning restrictions and EU-derived laws that constrain our growth.

What he meant: Like I say, it’s “complex”. We left the EU nearly three years ago and Boris Johnson couldn’t get Tory MPs to vote to relax planning law. Not going to happen.

What he said: Now, this brings me to the cap on bankers’ bonuses ... We’re going to get rid of it.

What he meant: When the prime minister said she is prepared to be unpopular, what she meant was that we want to be unpopular. It makes us feel alive.

What he said: Now we come to tax – central to solving the riddle of growth.

What he meant: Where does economic growth come from? It’s a puzzle, isn’t it?

What he said: The tax system is not simply about raising revenue for public services, vitally important though that is. Tax determines the incentives across our whole economy.

What he meant: We need to cut taxes to raise the money to pay for public services. No, seriously.

What he said: We believe that taxes reduce incentives to work.

What he meant: It is a matter of belief. Where our so-called Tory predecessors went wrong is that they did not believe enough. Allow me to recite the Nicene creed of mistranslated Thatcherism.

What he said: We will review the tax system to make it simpler, more dynamic and fairer for families. We are taking that first step today.

What he meant: This is Year Zero. We have made no progress along this path under the socialist governments of the past 32 years, since Margaret of Blessed Memory left No 10 in tears.

What he said: At this difficult time, we will not let alcohol duty rates rise in line with RPI, so I can announce that the planned increases in duty rates for beer, cider, wine and spirits will all be cancelled.

What he meant: The poor will need their alternative reality.

What he said: The additional rate of income tax, at 45 per cent … is currently higher than the headline top rate in G7 countries such as the US and Italy, and it is even higher than in social democracies such as Norway. But I am not going to cut the additional rate of tax today; I am going to abolish it altogether.

What he meant: Yes, most people will hate it. We intend to educate the electorate.

What he said: The prime minister promised that we would be a tax-cutting government … Our growth plan has delivered all those promises and more, and I commend it to the House.

What he meant: The prime minister is on a holiday from reality, and so am I. Wish you were here.