'Very political' Budget from a man with little room to move
Commentators give Osborne 'A for the politics', but his Budget's success or failure is out of his hands
SET against a backdrop of the slowest economic recovery in 100 years and a halving of the growth forecast for 2013, the Budget was up against it even before the Chancellor stood up. But did he deliver? Here’s what some of the top commentators are saying:
Larry Elliott in The Guardian: "Osborne's changes are likely… to have a bigger political than economic impact. Many of the measures – the duty cuts for beer drinkers and motorists – were blatantly populist, while the help-to-buy scheme for the moribund housing market was a throwback to Margaret Thatcher's right-to-buy scheme of the early 1980s."
Philip Webster in The Times: "Mr Osborne’s future, like that of his government, will be determined by how the broad economic figures move over the next couple of years. It was a Budget that showed that Mr Osborne, after last year’s omnishambles, has not lost his political touch. His fate, however, depends on far more than that."
Benedict Brogan in the Daily Telegraph: "For a Chancellor with little room for manoeuvre, Mr Osborne produced a stream of carefully-calibrated measures that may not make a huge difference economically, but have political power. His Budget was designed in part to restore his reputation with his own side and the public. These few bits help. He gets an A for the politics."
Nick Robinson, political editor of the BBC: "This was a very political speech from a man in a very tight economic straitjacket. It will, though, not be judged by the headlines or by the measures or even by the Budget leak, but by whether the next time he stands up the economic news appears to be any better or worse - yet again."
Anthony Hilton in the Evening Standard: "Ultimately, it comes down to confidence. Firms are not investing because they lack confidence. People are not spending for the same reason. The real test of this Budget will be if people believe that tomorrow will be better than today. The Chancellor’s problem is that even when he delivers that message as emphatically as he did today, too few believe him." ·