Osborne aims for 'new settlement'

George Osborne Image copyright PA

It was indeed a "big" Budget - just as the chancellor said it would be.

It was delivered by a politician with "big ambitions".

George Osborne's stated aim was to create what he called a "new settlement". That's politician's code for re-writing the rules of politics to suit your side.

So it is that he did something rather surprising - slowing and softening spending and welfare cuts now having promised faster and deeper cuts in the run up to the election.

So it is that he adopted a series of Labour policies - a higher re-badged minimum wage, a levy on firms to pay for apprentices, an assault on the tax privilege of so-called non doms.

This in addition to delivering Tory promises to cut income tax, corporation tax and inheritance tax.

But hold on - below those headlines are some potentially eye-watering cuts to benefits - the cuts to tax credits for families will dwarf the pay rise many will get.

There are cuts too to Whitehall budgets on the same scale as seen over the past five years - though where they'll hit is as yet unspelt out.

And there are tax rises - on buying insurance, on buying a car, on pensions - which dwarf the headline tax cuts.

So, yes, it was a "big Budget" - whether it's a big game-changer, a big mess or a big outrage is a judgement for you.

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