Daily View: Reaction to the Budget
Political bloggers assess Alistair Darling's Budget.
Neil Clark at the Conservative blog Centre Right says the Budget was the equivalent to asking voters to sign a blank cheque:
"We just missed the last chance to have a sensible election debate about public spending. The Government could have finally told us where the axe is going to fall, and challenged the opposition parties to say how they would have done things differently."
Ex-Labour party employee and blogger Hopi Sen is pleased about the measures which looked like they would lead to job creation:
"[P]erhaps paradoxically for a left winger, it was the Treasury approach on supporting industry that most caught my eye: the bits of the budgets I got excited by were the tax relief for industrial investment being doubled, so it will be more cost-effective for companies to buy new machinery; the recognition that small businesses need help with their Business rates and flexibility on tax repayments; the focus on supporting commercial lending; the willingness to encourage entrepeneurs to build companies by reducing their capital gains tax."
Fraser Nelson in the Spectator's Coffee House blog calls the Budget reassuringly dull:
"This was a surprisingly subdued Budget, and for that Alistair Darling is to be commended. He must have resisted all manner of pressure from Brown to put in pre-election pyrotechnics. But the budget was what it should be: a punctuation mark on the sentence of the national economy. That sentence says "our finances are going to hell," and the Budget's high point is that we are doing so fractionally slower than we were expecting to last November."
Cathy Newman at the Channel 4 News Fact Check blog searched through the Budget and says the accounts aren't transparent enough:
"He clearly wanted to put the Conservatives on the back foot by announcing detailed cost-cuts. But while some departments - like the Ministry of Justice for example - have mustered some convincing looking cost-cuts, others were hilariously candid about just how back of the envelope their plans are.
Labour needs to do a lot more to prove it has a credible plan to pay down that staggering £167bn of borrowings."
Blogger Liberty on the left-wing blog Liberal Conspiracy takes a tongue-in-cheek look at what's behind the cider tax:
"You see, that Alistair Darling is a clever bloke after all - the increase in duty on cider won't price teenagers out of the market but it will raise a bit more of the tax needed to pay for all those smart orange jackets that the kids get given to wear while they're cleaning up the mess they've made in the local park. So its really all just a clever job creation scheme for teenagers."
Links in full
BBC| Newspapers split on Budget analysis
Don Paskini | Liberal Conspiracy | Budget round up
Neil O'Brien | Centre Right | The next phase of the fiscal debate begins now
Hopi Sen | Budget Reax
Cathy Newman | Channel 4 | Vague Savings, growth forecasts, job claims
Fraser Nelson | Spectator | A reassuringly dull budget