Thursday 6 August 2020

Rishi Sunaks meal deal bung - A magic money tree bung with no logic at all

Guess what I did last night? I went out to my favourite restaurant and had a lobster and a bottle of wine. I was taking advantage of Rishi's dine out to save the world deal. I'm no mug, if someone wants to bung some cash my way, I am quite happy to spend it, even if I think that the whole idea of it is completely bonkers. And that is exactly what I think of Rishi Sunak's meal deal bung. As the Bleeding Heart in Farringdon was fully booked, and the staff said it had boosted trade, I have no doubt that it will help the hospitality trade in the short term, although I do wonder whether anyone will be dining Thursdays-Sundays, so it may well be counter productive.  I would be all for boosting restaurants if the country was aawash with cash and there were not people on the breadline who are struggling to buy a loaf and a tin of beans at Tesco's, let alone go out for a slap up meal.

But the country is not awash with cash. The policies of this and previous governments have left the cupboard bare. The money to fund this is borrowed and will have to be paid back. As I mentioned, it will be interesting to see how the deal affects the normal weekend peaks. I spoke to the Bleeding Heart and they said that lunchtimes have been rammed with office workers taking advantage of a cheap lunch. They would be mad not to and if I was in their position I would. But who is the beneficiary of this mad taxpayer funded bung? Every evening I walk up the Broadway, and it was great to see the cafes busy, something that I'd not seen since early March. But it was also quite clear that those taking advantage of the deal were people who could well afford to eat out anyway. I saw one chap I know, a notorious cheapskate, who is loaded tucking in with his wife in one cafe. He normally leaves her at home and I was amused to see she was on the tap water, whilst he had a more attractive libation. I suspect he only allowed her  a starter and had two main courses, to take full advantage of the bung.

There are millions in the UK who are strggling and who are in fear of losing their jobs as the Furlough ends. They won't be going out to eat, even with the bung. They are scrimping and saving every penny. Whilst well paid office workers and well off retired skinflints think the whole thing is marvellous, those who need some cash most are excluded. This is probably the most middle class tax bung in the history of the UK (I'm middle class, which is why I am taking advantage of it). What sort of a world do we live in where millions have to get a voucher to get a tin of beans at a food bank, whereas others get given a tenner to eat lobsters?  If they'd given everyone on Universal credit a couple of ten pound vouchers
to have a slap up meal on the high st, that would have had the same effect at a tenth the cost and it would have given those who really need the bung a good meal. It would have filled up the restaurants and put extra money through, as the people using them would be people who NEVER can afford to eat out.

Sooner or later, winter will come and all of the fruits on the magic money tree will be eaten. We will have put nothing in the stores for next year, we will have devoured the seeds for next years crop. Sooner or later the UK will have to pay for this binge. We all will. The well off office workers, the retired, those on Universal credit and people like me who work and just about get by. As anyone who has ever gone mad with a credit card knows, sooner or later you have to pay the bill and you have to pay the interest on the bill. Everyone is walking around saying what a marvellous chap Rishi Sunak is and how masterfully he's managed the economy during a crisis. The sad truth is that anyone can be popular if they are doling out cash bungs. It's when the bills come in, the cash runs out and we have to start paying, we'll really see what sort of chancellor he is.

I'd like to see the Chancellor outlining an economic strategy to dig us out of the mess and to pay the bills. I'd like to see an emergency program of measures to protect the economy and the spend money on areas that generate lasting wealth. I'd be interested to know how many disused rail lines could be reopened with the money spent giving us a slap up dinner? I'd like to see how many businesses that were thriving before the crisis and are going to the wall today could have been saved? I'd like to know how many young people could have been trained to work as bricklayers, plumbers and car mechanics for the cost of the bung. Don't get me wrong, I know Rishi Sunak has an impossible job and I understand that the bung is a very fast way to get some cash back into the economy, but is it really the best way to spend a small fortune, when the government is in hock up to its neck. Next year when the Government cuts the cash to Barnet Council as it is skint and vulnerable people start to suffer, the Lobster and wine will not seem quite as tasty as it did last night.

1 comment:

Fraser said...

Thank you for your unmitigated gloom.