The future is a scary concept. Whether you're a school leaver, the family breadwinner in the prime of your career, or about to enter retirement, it's natural to have concerns about the years to come. Money is the primary area of worry for most people, but there are simple and painless ways to prepare without winning the lottery.
Amidst this week's economic gloom were two bright spots of the jobs market. First, new stats from the ONS led to widespread reports that employment had again reached record levels, with the number of people in work rising 131,000 in the quarter to 29.7 million. Then the OBR upgraded its forecasts for employment over the next few years.
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.
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.
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.