On Wednesday lunchtime the Chancellor George Osborne will deliver his annual Budget statement to the Commons. The 2012 Budget comes as the UK economy stands at a crossroads between a possible rebound from the financial crisis - or conversely facing the prospect a double-dip recession.
HuffPost has gathered together those who will be affected by Osborne's decisions, to gauge opinion on what the Chancellor should be doing to improve the lives of millions of Britons.
Along with most of Western Europe, I have nervously watched the long drawn out discussions between Greece and the European Union over the Greek debt problem. Now that they seem to have reached some sort of solution, I feel desperately sorry for the Greek people as they face years of misery. When I think about the UK economy, I worry that we are facing a similar, miserable future, with young people either unemployed or, if in work, unable to avoid the things we took for granted – a nice place to live, a reasonable car and pleasant holidays.
So I would like to see the Chancellor do the following things in the budget:
First, do something bold to convince us that the government is in charge and knows where it is going, giving us the confidence to take a few risks – we’ve had too much tinkering;
Second give some incentive to the entrepreneurial and the business generators to encourage them to employ a few more people. Whether its to cut employer’s national insurance for newly employed young people or to reduce the rate of VAT (even if only temporarily),
Third – really take some action on reducing red tape and bureaucracy – he could even employ a few more people to do this.
Finally anything they can think of to kick start growth by increasing consumption and to give some relief to the those struggling to hold families together by raising thresholds to take more out of tax.
What he should not do is remove the 50p tax rate on higher earners (although he could perhaps change the threshold). By all means promise this for the future but it should not be a priority this year – nor should increasing the taxes on alcohol to make it too expensive for those on low and moderate income.
See the rest of our panel: