Posts Tagged ‘Simon Fitzpatrick’

This “no change” Budget fails to inspire

21/03/2013, 01:34:06 PM

by Simon Fitzpatrick

We were warned that this would be a no-change Budget, and it seems that was no bluff.

Yes, Osborne is cutting a little more from departmental budgets and yes, he’s spending a little more on housing and infrastructure.

He will accelerate the rise in personal income tax allowances, cancel the planned fuel duty rise for a second year and go further on cutting corporation tax.

But predominantly these are measures that were already in place, and going a little further on them in no way alters the direction of travel.

And try as he might, the chancellor cannot disguise the fact that that direction of travel is not pretty. By every one of his self-set tests, George Osborne’s plan is not working.

A chancellor who pledged to eliminate the budget deficit in this Parliament now concedes that we will still be running a deficit of 2.2% in 2017-18. Debt as a percentage of GDP will not begin falling until the same year. And growth forecasts are down again – just 0.6% is forecast this year. If the OBR’s track record on forecasts is anything to go by, we’ll be lucky if there’s not a “negative” in front of that figure.

In the face of so much bleak news, Osborne seemed determined to win himself some positive headlines regardless by announcing some populist measures for the ‘man on the street’. The man on the street George Osborne has in mind drinks beer and drives a Vauxhall Astra, though hopefully not in quick succession.


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