Budget 2011: Steady as She Goes
Budget 2011 was a classic steady-as–she-goes Budget underlining the Chancellor’s commitment to continuing with his Plan A. There were no big surprises (thanks to pre briefings galore) apart from the obligatory rabbit out of the hat on fuel duty: something that is likely to dominate tomorrow morning’s front pages.
It was a Budget dominated by talk of growth, business and entrepreneurship – the ‘c’ word – cuts – rarely appeared. We had been told to expect a Budget for Growth and that’s what they hope that they have sold.
We’ve had a busy afternoon sifting through the detail and there is some great news for some of our clients, particularly those in the life sciences and skills sector. This is an unashamedly pro science Government that clearly sees science and innovation as a key driver to growth, echoing what Blair, Sainsbury and Drayson started. Health and social care, green tech and planning are covered in our separate briefings which have left our offices this afternoon. There is a lot to talk about…….
Politically, it was an interesting afternoon. The Liberal Democrats have made much noise about their policy to raise the income tax threshold to £10k slowly coming to life. From what we’ve seen so far, the Conservatives seem content that George Osborne continues with the course that he set last year and Labour have been pushing their key line of attack (growth? what growth?) very hard and consistently this afternoon.
Budget 2011 wasn’t a classic and there is none of the buzz that we’ve seen over the past few years. But that’s probably the way that the Government wants it. If the Coalition holds firm, the Prime Minister and Chancellor are banking on today being a hard to remember Budget come the next Election and that’s what will prove to be the case.
Oh – and Ken Clarke fell asleep – again.
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