This Budget was a test for George Osborne, a test to see whether he can deliver a budget that is fair and one that helps us build for the future. It's a test he has failed. Growth is down. Exports are down. Productivity is down. And wage growth and disposable income are down. The only things rising? Debt and the deficit. These are failures that don't deliver on fairness, and don't deliver for the future... This is Osborne's eighth Budget - and his record of failure is there for all to see. The tragedy is that it is ordinary British families who are paying the price of that failure.
The truth is that young people have been little more than rhetorical window dressing for Osborne's budget. There was nothing on Wednesday that will make the tangible improvements to their life chances that they need. They still look set to be the first generation to have worse living standards than their parents.
This is just fiddling the figures. It's not economics, it's pure politics. The truth is that this is a hit and hope-for-the-best budget. He has knocked all of the tough decisions into the thickest long grass he can find, and has crossed his fingers that something will happen in the next few years to rescue him. It is a huge roll of the dice that undermines all of his empty words on security and responsibility.
The Chancellor has cut taxes for corporations and lifted the threshold for the 40p income tax - both measures that will predominantly benefit men - while making cuts to essential services and to benefits for people with disabilities.
My issue is not with the tax on sugary drinks. This is a good idea and all the accumulated evidence suggests it will help reduce general consumption. My issue is with the proposed purpose of the revenues raised. Osborne says this money is going to be used to fund sports facilities in schools and invest in a future generation but who stands to win this particular match?
Today, the Chancellor confirmed that the Government will be making changes to the disability benefits. These are going to make many disabled people's lives harder. It is a very worrying and uncertain time for disabled people, many of whom are already struggling to make ends meet.
The Chancellor's Budget provides one of the set piece events of the parliamentary calendar. The anticipation, the lobbying and the commentary, combine to reveal one of the great theatrical political shows.
George Osborne is right about one thing: the British economy is sailing dangerously close to another recession, insofar as it is likely to be swept up...
The Chancellor's proposals will not address the many pressing problems in education such as the teacher shortage crisis, the lack of school places and the desperate lack of funding. Nor will they address teachers' concerns about a muddled and inappropriate curriculum. They are entirely the wrong priorities.
This Wednesday, the Chancellor will present his budget for the year ahead. But it's not the only important thing happening that day: though it might not dominate the headlines, the government's controversial Trade Union Bill will reach its final stages in the House of Lords. What it represents is a last chance for the government to reconsider its position to ban unions from allowing members to vote online - a ban that no other civil society group faces.
As a Treasury Minister, apprehension always hung heavy in the air on the day before a Budget. Would centrepiece polices come across clearly? Would problems we wanted to downplay loom large? Would the Budget go down well with our MPs, with the media and above all with the public? Today George Osborne has much to be apprehensive about. Four months ago in the Spending Review he insisted that the economy was on the up and so "the savings we need are considerably smaller". This week he's been touring TV studios warning that "the storm clouds are clearly gathering" and that billions of pound of fresh cuts now need to be made.
This Budget reminds me of Bill Murray's Groundhog Day. I looked back at a blog I wrote on George Osborne's 2011 budget, and as well as feeling old, I feel repetitive. Over the past seven years budget after budget has been deemed regressive. This budget looks to be no different... The cumulative impact of seven years of regressive budgets has been dire for women and the most vulnerable in society.
It is no secret that Jeremy Clarkson's departure from the team has left the programme needing to find its cutting edge. The BBC would never admit it but its biggest grossing programme became so successful because of the ridiculous issues its presenters got it into. Bad news is really good publicity. Honest.
With further cuts to public spending expected tomorrow, my request to the Chancellor is to look to the industry that's proved it can deliver results. Making small amounts of capital available to help companies develop, exploit and commercialise their own IP can act as a catalyst for future growth and scale. Fundamentally this means backing ideas and taking risks.
Though it's never yet been run, I wish somebody could start up a popularity contest to decide, once and for all, who is The Most Awful Brit Alive Toda...
It's been easy to miss given the dominance of Europe, but George Osborne must stand before the Commons tomorrow in a very tricky predicament to delive...