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Tag Archives: Budget 2014

What we saw last Wednesday was, by a considerable margin, George Osborne’s most impressive budget. The Chancellor’s Commons set piece, in terms of both content and delivery, was substantive, sure-footed and – here’s the clincher – actually stood for something.

The package of measures in Osborne’s fifth annual red-box wielding ritual were clearly designed to promote business investment, boost foreign trade and unlock pension savings. For once, no post-budget spin was required. The Chancellor has expressed some strong opinions and developed some policies you can hang your hat on. Good – and it’s certainly been a long time coming.

While the microeconomics of Budget 2014 (the individual measures) contain much that is laudable, the bigger macroeconomic picture remains dire. I’m glad Osborne has put his thinking cap on and finally decided to do something. But I remain extremely concerned about the UK’s broader budgetary stance, our massive (and still fast-expanding) national debt and the lack of determination when it comes to rescuing Britain’s public finances from their current parlous state.
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George Osborne promised a “budget for business” and that was largely what he delivered. There was a lot in the Chancellor’s fifth budget to please the business community and, on first reading, few specific measures to cause alarm.

Osborne deserves credit for limiting himself to a fiscally neutral package, despite a strong uptick in growth. Even though the Office for Budget Responsibility raised its 2014 growth forecast to 2.7pc, up from 1.4pc at the time of last year’s budget, the Chancellor’s measures amounted to a tiny £0.5bn giveaway in 2014/15, and a small fiscal squeeze over the next 5 years as a whole.
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