Budget 2014: Osborne's challenge to UKIP

Two men looking at the River Thames

"Is there a rabbit in there?" the media shouted at the chancellor as he held up his red budget box outside No 11 Downing Street.

There was. Yet, despite an awful lot of trying no-one guessed George Osborne's secret - a plan to radically reform savings and pensions which he sees as the most significant announcement he's made - other, that is, than his plan for austerity.

Those who will benefit most are older and have some money to put aside.

They're people who've seen their savings eroded by historically low interest rates and see little prospect of that changing. Many will be 40p tax rate payers who've gained least from the series of increases to the personal tax allowance.

A group you might think that sounds very like the kind of people who've drifted away from the Conservative Party.

When I suggested to one senior Tory that the plan was a laser guided electoral missile aimed at Nigel Farage's potential supporters, he replied that might just be a happy by-product of a reform that would affect many millions of people.

What came as no surprise today was the economic news - good as well as bad.

The economy is recovering much faster than expected BUT many still aren't feeling it AND Britain's borrowing and debt is still stubbornly high and years away from being dealt with.

Nothing George Osborne said today is likely to shift those fundamental facts.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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