budget 2015

If you have any lingering doubts about the difference the Liberal Democrats made in government over the last five years, the Budget policies announced by George Osborne this afternoon should dispel them. Just look at the choices Osborne makes without Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander to push him in another direction. At a time when 6.6million people in working families live in poverty, he's hitting some of the poorest and most vulnerable - and, incidentally, hardest-working - families by freezing working-age benefits, which amounts to a real terms cut of 11% over four years.
This is a budget for working people, pure and simple. It's what makes me so proud to be a Conservative. Rewarding hard work is a central Conservative mission and today's budget couldn't show that better.
In today's budget, George Osborne sets out a path for the government's fiscal deficit over the next five years. His aim is to get the overall budget into surplus by 2019/20. This is one year later that planned back in March - a welcome smoothing of the path for eliminating the government's deficit. But he may still be moving too fast.
George Osborne has announced plans to implement a "compulsory living wage" for over 25s in his Budget address on Wednesday
This could have been a good budget and one I would have welcomed, were it not for two announcements that made me see red: the pledge to scrap the Student Maintenance Grant and proposals to force lone parents of three and four year olds into work through the extension of the childcare voucher scheme.
By cutting maintenance grants and replacing them with higher loans, working class students with the lowest incomes will have even more to pay back... I worked long hours in part time jobs, got a credit card and I'm still in my overdraft - but I just about made it. When students are already struggling and support is cut further, how many will we lose?
'Get in' Cutting housing benefits... 'Get in' And here's one from our friends at The Poke: 'Get in' Freezing working age
George Osborne has announced plans to slash university maintenance grants and convert them into loans, exclude under 25s
The rabbit out of the hat was the introduction of a national living wage, which will largely be paid for by the reduction in corporation tax, but the announcement of which led the FTSE 100 to pull back from its highs. All in all the budget can be seen as a very business orientated one which the markets have broadly welcomed.
Radical and reforming - always good words to be associated with any politician. Well George Osborne will have those epithets