George Osborne has probably done enough to ensure that the public finances are back on track and that the national debt will not run out of control.
He has, however, taken only the first step on the road to reducing the size of the state. The government will spend the same proportion of national income in 2015 as it did in 2007. In other words, the size of the state will be no smaller when David Cameron goes to the country than when Gordon Brown left the Treasury.
Much more could have been done and low-hanging fruit has been left on the tree. Child benefit should have been scrapped for 16-19 year olds. Universal payments to pensioners (winter-fuel allowance, free TV licences and free bus travel) and the aid budget have been left untouched or increased. Indeed, pensioners will enjoy the absurd “triple lock” that will see their real incomes increase dramatically if there is deflation. These items should not have survived the review. There was easily room for £10bn more cuts to enable a significant reduction in taxation.
Read the rest of the article on the Spectator Coffee House blog