The Blog

Budget Blues - Not for George


Radical and reforming - always good words to be associated with any politician.

Well George Osborne will have those epithets in spades in days to come following one of the most action packed Budget announcements in years.

Osborne 'unbound' used his Budget Statement today to claim the mantle of 'One Nation' - a positioning he undoubtedly believes gives him the best bet to be the next Conservative leader.

But it also reclaims the idea back from Labour - Miliband wrestled it from the Tories in the last Parliament - but voters simply didn't understand him. Osborne sees more of a chance.

The apotheosis of this approach was in the Chancellor's closing passage when he unveiled Tory plans for a compulsory Living Wage. A big idea which may continues to rebalance voter perceptions.

Every mention of the Northern Powerhouse was met with Labour jeers. I'm not surprised - Labour councils across the north appear to be doing deals with a Conservative Chancellor. Canny George.

Combined with swingeing cuts of £9billionn to Tax Credits over the course of this parliament, likely greater pension saving flexibilities and raising tax thresholds to mean '29million people paying lower taxes' - it is likely most of the tabloids will be happy.

And with lower business taxes offsetting apprenticeship costs - most of business will give this the nod too.

Osborne even pledged to use a new fund to improve the roads. No doubt hoping his own road ahead to No10 becomes smoother.

On the Tory benches - I think it just has.

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