Archive for the 'Budget' Category


Today’s budget buzzword bingo

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Ladbrokes have put up their customary Budget buzzword bingo, I’m avoiding this market as nothing leaps out as value and I really don’t fancy contributing to the Ladbrokes Christmas bonus fund. Ladbrokes also have a market up on the colour of Philip Hammond’s tie, this is another market I’m going to avoid for the same reasons.

There is one bet that does intrigue me and I think is worth a few pounds, 16/1 on Ken Clarke to fall asleep during the  budget.

The greatest Prime Minister we never had has form for this, he was accused of falling asleep during the 2011 budget, he denied it, but Ladbrokes paid out on it, because they had a similar market up then as well and they took Ed Miliband’s accusation as proof.



Tonight’s cartoon and the latest Opinium poll

Saturday, November 18th, 2017


DDavis drops sharply in the next CON leader betting following reports that he might quit

Saturday, November 18th, 2017

And he’s now being backed for next Cabinet exit

A report in the Telegraph about the frustration that BrexSec DDavis is having with his job has prompted big changes in two betting markets – next CON leader and next Cabinet exit.

Under the heading “Exclusive: David Davis could quit because ‘he is being frozen out on Brexit strategy’ by civil servants”. the paper’s Christopher Hope reports:

“.David Davis could walk out on his job as Britain’s lead negotiator on Brexit because of frustrations that he is being cut out of key strategic talks in Whitehall, his friends fear.

Allies of the Exiting the European Union secretary said they were concerned he is not being included by civil servants in key talks about Britain’s negotiations about leaving the European Union.

One source said that Mr Davis had not been shown a key Brexit Cabinet paper sent by Boris Johnson, the Foreign secretary, and Michael Gove, to the Prime Minister.

The fear is that Mr Davis might resign in protest – in the same way that he suddenly quit as shadow home secretary from David Cameron’s front bench team in 2008.

Mr Davis has been been a vocal exponent of the Government’s Brexit policy, making two speeches this week and a third on Britain’s trade deal with the EU after Brext next week.

Allies of Mr Davis, who is known as “DD”, said Mrs May had been ‘captured’ by civil servants Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet secretary, and Oliver Robbins, the former DExEU permanent secretary, who now works in 10 Downing Street advising Mrs May.

One said: “The officials are forming a phalanx around the PM and they are trying to cut DExEu out the loop and move the centre of gravity to Number 10. DD is becoming increasingly frustrated.

“People forget DExEu does not actually formulate policy – the policy is all formulated in the Exiting the EU Cabinet committee.

“All DExEU does is act as an executive for the policy which is formed elsewhere.”

Clearly the PM is now becoming much more involved in the process which will surely define her Premiership. Inevitably the politics will be directed from Number 10. This, surely, was always going to be the case and maybe the decision to create a new cabinet role, the one held by DDavis, was not a good one. TMay is the PM and she was always going to make the big calls not her BrexSec.

Mike Smithson


Hammond looks set to reward the young for turning out in such numbers at GE2017

Monday, October 16th, 2017

Mail Online

But taking from older workers could be a big electoral gamble

As was said repeatedly in the lead-up to June 8th the reason that the younger generations appear to get so poorly treated by governments is that by, in the past, not turning out at elections at similar rates to older ones they are seen to be electorally less important.

Well the big move on general election day was a big increase in turnout levels in the 18-24 and 25-34 age segments. At the time the oldies, the 65+ segment saw a drop off on their participation rate and both the these dynamics were the reason why most of the pollsters got it wrong and Mrs. May failed to win her hoped for landslide. The young are much more likely to be pro-LAB while the oldies mostly go for the blue team.

So is it any wonder that Chancellor Hammond should now be hinting ways of shifting things in the direction of younger age-groups who are much less likely than their parents, for instance, of being able to afford their own homes?

    The problem for Hammond is that if tax changes create losers then they are much more likely to remember when elections come round than those who gain who’ll just see it as justice being done.

A lot depends on how this is presented and not overstating the benefit. TMay’s big conference move on council houses looked markedly less important when it became clear that maybe only 5,000 extra new homes would be built a year.

The art, of course, is to slip in the balancing move in a form that is not immediately understood by those who’ll be out of pocket.

We saw with the manifesto dementia tax how things can quickly be interpreted to create a problem.

Mike Smithson


The buzzword bingo on Theresa May’s Florence speech

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Ladbrokes have a market up on what Theresa May might say in her Florence speech tomorrow, and I get the feeling that this is another market that will help contribute to the Ladbrokes Christmas bonus fund.

If I had to choose I’d back the 12/1 on ‘Global Trading Power’, but if PBers spot any value, please let me know.



Remember five months ago when Hammond thought he was unsackable?

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

After his budget U-turn he’s now joint 2nd favourite to be next cabinet minister out

Back in October the Telegraph’s James Kirkup wrote how the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond believed that he was in a uniquely strong position in the cabinet

Mr Hammond is, to almost everyone’s surprise, the most interesting man in the Cabinet. Colleagues say that he calculates that he is, for now anyway, unsackable, and so he has the latitude to challenge Mrs May in a way others do not.

More sympathetic to business and the argument for the single market than the PM, Mr Hammond could well emerge as Britain’s real opposition leader when Britain’s Brexit debate is played out inside the Conservative Party…”

How things look differently today following the roasting he has had in the media after his U-turn on National Insurance contributions for the self-employed.

It was widely commented on after last week’s budget that he was treading on thin ice proposing a move that appeared to be in direct contradiction to a Conservative manifesto election pledge from 2015.

The crazy thing is that in revenue terms this proposed change was not going to add up to all that much.

As ever in these circumstances when a minister looks in trouble the bookies try to tempt punters into having a bet. Hammond is now second favourite at 6/1 with Ladbrokes to be the next cabinet minister out. William Hill also have a market up making it 5/2 that he won’t remain Chancellor to out of this Parliament.

I have learnt to my cost in the past that these bets are easy to get wrong and I’m giving this one a miss for now.

Mike Smithson


Now betting opens on whether the self employed NI increase will happen

Friday, March 10th, 2017

William Hill have opened a market on the Chancellor’s controversial National Insurance increase for the self-employed – and are offering odds of 6/4 (40% chance of happening) that the new NIC rise WILL be implemented this year – and 1/ 2 that it will NOT be.

‘The adverse reaction to this issue appears to have taken Mr Hammond and Mrs May by surprise and there is speculation that it could be delayed and/or scrapped’ said Hill’s spokesman Graham Sharpe.

However, Hills do not believe that Philip Hammond’s future in the role is under threat and offer odds of 1/6 that he will still be Chancellor when the next General Election takes place, 7/2 that he wil not be.

My view is that this is not going to happen. There have been enough signs that a U-turn is being looked at.

Mike Smithson


Maybe next time the Tories will have to emulate the GE2015 EdStone to show they’ll honour manifesto commitments

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

OmNICshambles, like the LDs tuition fees pledge, will be remembered

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has been in full defensive mode as he has sought to fight off the criticism that his National Insurance changes for the self-employed are in breach of a GE2015 Conservative manifesto pledge.

His responses that this just applied to one form of NIC charges really didn’t resonate and he’d be well advised to find another way of dealing with the attacks.

What is surprising is that this wasn’t anticipated. The way the Tories used the threat of increased National Insurance contributions against LAB at the last election is all on the record and cannot easily be airbrushed out.

The problem at the next election is that the blue team is going to be pressed even further on any manifesto commitments that they make and this one will be thrown back at them.

Maybe there was something in Ed Miliband headstone plan that was, as we can all record, going to be placed in the garden at 10 Downing Street, as a way of saying that they’ll keep their promises.

One thing’s for sure Cameron/Osborne would not have made this mistake.

With the second BREXIT bill defeat in the Lords, the sacking of Michael Heseltine and the reception the budget has got this has probably been the worst week of Theresa May’s government.

Mike Smithson