An FTI Consulting analysis
On Wednesday 18 March George Osborne MP delivered the last Budget of this Parliament, and potentially his last as Chancellor. Rounding up the content of the speech, FTI Consulting takes a look at the key announcements that have been made. A list of measures announced can be found overleaf.
A Budget for the election – some light at the end of the tunnel?
With just fifty days to go until the General Election it’s no surprise, despite Osborne’s pre-Budget disclaimer that there will be “no giveaways, no gimmicks”, that this was a Budget squarely aimed at voters. Cracking more than a couple of jokes, a bullish Osborne hammered home the Coalition’s (or rather, Conservative Party’s) core message - that the economic plan is working. Osborne was aiming for a positive sounding Budget, designed to create optimism among the electorate and the marginal seats of Hendon, Croydon, Cambridge and Birmingham were all given a tactical mention.
The OBR’s upward re-adjustment of both growth in 2014 and growth forecasts for 2015 and 2016 allowed him to include some giveaways aimed at converting the Long Term Economic Plan into Short Term Political Votes. Well trailed measures included the increase in the personal allowance and a cut in life time pension allowance while among the surprises was the abolition of the annual tax return and a new “Help to Buy ISA”.
With little to no time to prepare a response, Ed Miliband stuck to expected lines, attacking Osborne’s claim of a truly national recovery by calling it a recovery for the few from a Government of the few. Aiming to pick apart the Budget as one that could not be believed, Miliband accused Osborne of ignoring the NHS and hiding future cuts on public spending. “This Budget didn’t solve the problem, it confirmed them” said Mr Miliband. Whether the electorate agree with him, we’ll know soon enough.