Responding to today’s Budget, Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:
“This is a fiddly, tinkering, complicated budget which cannot be expected to do much to promote the economic growth the UK so badly needs. Spending remains too high and the government may well continue to run a deficit for the rest of the decade, thereby still adding to the national debt. The ring-fencing of areas of very high government spending has made it much harder for the Chancellor to come remotely close to balancing the books. Even his new, more modest plan to eventually stop over-spending is reliant on growth forecasts which, to date, have been wildly over-optimistic.
"The Chancellor has not stuck to the course. He has allowed his targets on deficit reduction to slip, providing no real room for serious reductions in tax. Even as he increases the basic income tax threshold to £10,000, he is dragging many middling earners into the higher rate band. If this strategy is what George Osborne considers to be austerity, one dreads to think what largesse might look like.”