by Samuel Dale
George Osborne is putting the finishing touches to a Budget that will define our national politics for the next five years.
I have previously written how Osborne is both shifting the centre on areas such as fiscal responsibility and tax cuts while moving to the centre on areas where the public opinion will not follow. In other words, political pragmatism – remember that?
The 8 July Budget will do both. It will cut taxes over the parliament, entrench a smaller state as well as moving on to traditionally Labour areas such as boosting low pay.
On moving the centre, Osborne could create a roadmap to merging national insurance and income tax over the next few years in the biggest simplification of tax this country has seen since the 1980s.
As already hinted by the prime minister, he could set in train moving Britain away from a system of tax credits towards a living wage. A lower welfare, lower tax society.
Or he could build on his outlandishly popular pension reforms from last year with a long overdue reform of savings taxation.
He could do all three and more. In the last parliament major reforms to stamp duty and pensions alongside corporation tax cuts shows a bold Chancellor wanting to get out.
He’s also revolutionised how the self-employed file tax returns and he’s simplifying income tax bands on lower and middle earners.