All in all, given the timing, the budget could have been far worse. But there remain vast untapped efficiency reserves in many areas of public spending, and this budget has done nothing to tap into them.
The Chancellor had a good tale to tell about falling unemployment, falling welfare bills, growth in output and living standards. He talked repeatedly about how the government of which he is a member is "fixing the roof as the sun begins to shine." The problem is, if we're not able to train people to do the job, he may find himself having to fix his own roof.
George Osborne delivered his last budget of the current parliament today and, like many Chancellors before him in the same situation, he produced a number of populist measures designed to improve his party's chances at the forthcoming general election. Nobody is surprised by this, but - in the longer-term context - this was the wrong budget for the UK economy at this time.
Today's Budget was all about creating the springboard for the Conservatives election campaign... The closing idea from George Osborne's speech was that the UK is the 'Comeback Country'. What he wants you to think tonight is that he is the Comeback Chancellor.
The Conservatives believe in this case but are too shy so far to make it. However, soon after the election half the party will coalesce around this vision. Perhaps then, all party leaderships can reach a consensus which in truth is already present but unsaid. What is certain is that the British Influence message is getting through.
With only 50 days between the Budget and the General Election, who can blame Chancellor Osborne for including a few judiciously designed bribes? He will be in a strong position to do so and to underline the Conservative Party's trump card-the strength of the UK's recovery.
Now that George Osborne has shown his support, we need to persuade the rest of Europe to stop taxing periods too before we start to see some real changes... Together we can stop the sanitary tax that has marginalised issues traditionally associated with women, damaged the accessibility of a vital item and jeopardised the sexual health of millions across the world.
In 2008, while sitting in opposition at the House of Commons, Tory leader David Cameron goaded then prime minister Gordon Brown about an unwillingness to agree to pre-election television debates.
Unite will always work hard with employers to help ensure that apprenticeships being offered are meaningful, never bogus. I'd say to all women interested in engineering - don't be put off by outdated sexism. Britain doesn't need it, but Britain certainly needs you.
British drinkers are not getting a fair deal compared to their counterparts in the rest of the EU. Despite being the second most important brewing nation in Europe, beer duty in the UK remains significantly higher than our European neighbours.
What began 20 years ago as a dozen 12-year-olds in our parents' living room has become a movement of over three million young people around the world. Whether it's the environment or knife crime, homelessness in their hometown or poverty overseas, we've learned that young people want to make a difference.
More than two years ago David Cameron promised, at Prime Minister's Questions, to require the energy companies, by law, to put all customers on the cheapest tariff. Quite an undertaking, you might think. Yet research I've published today has revealed that despite 17 solemn promises, 75% of households are still not on their supplier's cheapest tariff. Or, to put it another way, three out of four households are being routinely overcharged by their energy supplier. And not just by a little bit, they're being overcharged a lot.
The Labour party's Mansion Tax on houses over £2million will send middle income households into debt and cause a crash on the south-east property market. It is quite simply a disaster for London, and a disaster for already squeezed middle income families.
It is well known that today's world there are problems in the construction of the infrastructure in cities and elsewhere on roads that are now either ...
The McKinsey Global Institute recently published a report on global debt, which pointed out that it has risen by $57 trillion since 2007 representing an annualized increase of 5.3 per cent. Between 2000 and 2007, global debt increased at an annualized rate of 7.3 per cent and that was seen as being unsustainably high.
Low pay and wage stagnation have left a gaping hole in the UK's public finances. New research published by the TUC for Fair Pay Fortnight shows that the government is collecting £33.4billion less in income tax and national insurance than had been forecast by the Office of Budget Responsbility, following the longest squeeze on wages since Victorian times.