However, there can be no doubt that this budget does less than any budget in living memory. We have a ‘do nothing’ budget at a time when there has never been a greater need for action to restore confidence in our country.
David Cameron, who was on very strong form, could not have put it better in his response, saying:
“The risk is not in dealing with the deficit now but in not dealing with the deficit now … what we need is a credible plan to deal with the government’s debts starting now”.
It is bad enough that the government says it will borrow £167bn this year and then boasts that it is only 11.8% of GDP, although I suspect that they are erring on the side of caution and the plan is to announce an undershoot on the 22nd April and present an 11½% deficit as a triumph of Labour economic management.
What is truly shocking is that the government still insouciantly plans to borrow £163bn next year, over 11% of GDP for the second year running.
No wonder the pound is down a cent and a half and gilts are down over a point. The key point everyone needs to understand though is that the market reaction would have been far, far worse, except that they are betting that they will soon have a Conservative government to clean up Labour’s mess.
A lot is riding on us and, as a candidate, I will be doing everything I can do over the next six weeks to help put David Cameron in Downing Street, so we can make a start on putting our country back on track.