The first substantive line of George Osborne's budget speech was: "We've now cut the deficit not by a quarter, but by a third". This might be surprising to anybody who read my earlier blog here, which pointed out that the deficit had (measured on a rolling twelve- month basis) been rising, not falling, for the last year or so.
The George Osborne budget was tepid and utterly uninspiring. To paraphrase Fraser Nelson of the Spectator, the budget was devoid of substance and replete with gestures.
I will leave the intricate takedowns of the coalition's housing, corporation tax and fuel duty escalator plans for the broadsheet newspapers - they do it better than most everyone else. I wish to focus on the macro side of things and, in particular, the role of the Bank of England in this year's and further budgets.
The Chancellor's call for an "aspiration nation" yesterday sat awkwardly with a budget that did nothing to raise hopes for families and ignored the inconvenient but basic truth that rising child poverty kills aspiration and opportunity.
Measures in the Chancellor's budget - not just the cancellation of the 6p beer duty rise, but the further 1p cut, as well as the scrapping of the beer duty escalator- are a welcome step to help protect the livelihoods of our publicans. However, borough councils also need to step in with stricter planning policies that favour protecting pubs as community hubs.
For me as an ex business owner and entrepreneur one of the most important aspects of any budget is how it helps our business sector grow. In my view the budget delivered yesterday by the Chancellor is one that is great for business.
The most welcome element of Osborne's budget is the introduction of the Liberal Democrat policy to raise the personal tax allowance to £10,000 next year, taking the poorest earners out of income tax altogether. The rest, I'm afraid, fails to be sufficiently progressive to satiate the social liberal majority within the Liberal Democrat party membership.
As always, it's the policy pronouncements that attract the attention on Budget day. A cheap pint is much more interesting than the minutiae of OBR figures. But the big story on Wesndesday in terms of its impact on households didn't come from the Chancellor.
Chancellor George Osborne had failed to deliver an anti-poverty budget that would boost living standards and ease the strain on poor families. We needed an anti-poverty budget to help struggling families, but what we heard yesterday was a standstill budget for a go-slow economy.
Of course there are no quick fixes, silver bullets or magic wands - choose your cliche - that can secure immediate rescue. But simply stopping making things worse as the government's austerity programme continues to do would be a good start.
There were some tactics to stimulate growth including a £130billion guarantee for mortgages in an effort to boost the ailing housing market, an increase in the personal tax allowance for the starting rate to £10,000 and a reduction in corporate national insurance tax. However none of these measures are likely to give the economy the boost it needs to get through this 'difficult' year, in which the economy is likely to fall back into a 'Triple Dip' recession.
From the working families who have to wait until 2015 for help with the costs of childcare, to a 2.4% drop in real wages over the lifetime of this parliament, life is getting more expensive and more difficult for most Britons.
Budget day provided an opportunity for the Chancellor to lay out a visionary, comprehensive and, above all, ambitious plan to restore the British economy to health. Sadly we didn't get it - instead we have a piecemeal approach which will leave our economy in the doldrums.
What a difference a year makes. From #grannytax and #omnishambles to #AspirationNation and widespread support from the commentariat, George Osborne should give himself a pat on the back before the elephant in the room that is the eurozone recaptures his attention in the morning.
Beer drinkers may raise a glass to the Chancellor tonight, and drivers filling their cars with petrol will be pleased to hear that there will be no further increase in fuel duty, but people aspiring to become home owners are the real winners of this year's budget statement.
George Osborne continues to make the same error he made in previous budgets. He is assuming the British economy will return to robust growth from 2014 onwards and that this will deliver the higher tax revenues needed to achieve his deficit reduction plan.