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.
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.
Climate change threatens everything we hold dear, even if you're an economist. The business case for boosting investment in renewables and energy efficiency is incredibly compelling. Yet still the Chancellor seems hell-bent on hitching our economy to the dirty energy infrastructure of the past. So here's what's topping my wish list on George's Big Day: let's put politics aside and have a cross party statement on the risk of climate change to the UK economy. What a sweet surprise that would be - and what true political leadership it would demonstrate.
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.
The current housing and property crisis affects all Londoners and it is of utmost importance that the Chancellor addresses these issues. It is our responsibility as citizens and government officials to tackle this situation head-on in order to improve the quality of life for all Londoners.
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.
After all, the more pertinent issue to consider when deciding who to vote for should be the government's record, and not - as the media sees fit to imply - the aesthetics of the opposition leader's consumption of bacon f***ing sandwiches.
Politicians and opinion-formers, please stop listening to the "moneymen". Go back to first principles and start using some common sense.
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.
This austerity movement has been unfolding across Europe for some time now, and on the surface it makes perfect sense. After all, cuts lead to savings, which in turn lead to investment and growth - right? Not entirely.
An industrial strategy that focuses on clusters would be a strategic departure from the approach of much of the last three decades, when growth has been promoted through mainly sector-neutral horizontal policies. But without a shift of this nature, there is little prospect of the export revival that the Chancellor was hoping for when he set his target, and little hope of a rebalancing of the economy.
The Government's road building programme needs to be scrutinised and the money re-directed. With public services experiencing cuts like never before there are so many better ways this money could be used. Here are just a few ideas for what you could spend £15billion on instead...
It seems then, that much like the high-pressure fluid injected to fracture our rock, mounting pressure from politicians and campaigners is creating cracks throughout Britain. Indeed, it is no longer just the 'Green Blob' that opposes fracking.
In fairness, it can't be easy trying to get people excited about politics in the UK, especially when you've got the likes of David Cameron and Nigel Farage ignoring you like you've just crawled out of Downton Abbey's servant's quarters to feed them dinner.
With that in mind, David Cameron has vowed to treble the number of start-up loans the government is dishing out to Britain's aspiring entrepreneurs. Who wouldn't love that? There's just one little problem: if that same government doesn't make some serious changes to the level of support small businesses are currently afforded, in five years we may have about 75,000 failed startups on our hands.