30 November 1999
It is budget day today and what a waste of time that has been! It looks like small businesses might get some money for training and developing new skills. Whoop-de-do. Not much help for those of us who don't have any employees and can't take time out for training of any kind. But there will be a fund for new business loans from the banks we own, but no mention of what the interest rates might be or the criteria. No point in getting a loan you might not be able to pay back!
Then there is the tax on the sale of homes worth more than £1m. I know this sounds like a fortune, but actually the average 4 bed in London is pretty close to that and then add to that the 5% stamp duty on buying a more expensive home. Something tells me, people just won't bother moving making the whole upper end of the market stagnant. Not good for us builders who rely on people wanting to change their new home or get the old one up to scratch.
Then at the other end of the scale is the first time buyer. They will not have to pay stamp duty until they buy a home worth more than £250,000. Well good for them. But where does it leave little old me with a house which is too small for my growing family and no way of moving up the ladder. I don't come into either category. They might be making it easier for a first time buyer, but some of us need our second or third home and can't get a mortgage. No help there then Mr Darling...unfortunately a first time buyer can't afford to hire someone like me to do their kitchen.
Well at least I have my beer....oops no, that is going up too. And Claire's favourite: cider, is going up by (wait for it) 10%. Couldn't believe that. Thank goodness she can only drink a pint or two at the most!
Ho hum...I can't really see the point of a pre election budget anyway. Because it is all hot air isn't it? If they don't get in again, the Tories will simply come up with all their own ideas and develop their own budget. There is also a very good chance that Labour will back down on some of these measures, which were only designed to get them elected.
Will I be voting this year? Well yes, of course. You can't moan about it without having your say. But the question is, which one out of the whole pile of money wasters do I choose? What is the best of the bad lot?
Still every cloud has a silver lining and for me that has come in the form of a brilliant job offer. I did a quote last week on a brand new house. Just an empty shell really with no kitchen or bathroom and little in the way of any decoration at all. The bloke building it is a developer and is giving me his budget and is happy for me to just get on with it. He has seen my work and wants an overall scheme which will sell.
If I do a good job on this then he could have more in the pipeline. Regular work and a free hand. It sounds pretty good to me. But if it all kicks off I could be in a position to expand. Question is, would I want to? As I have said before, working with other people is usually nothing but trouble, but this is a good earner and could set me up for retirement earlier than I hoped.
This is definitely one to discuss with the missus. Still no point in getting ahead of myself, I might just balls it up and pick tiles the bloke really hates and that will be the end of that. But I am happy to dream for now.
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