Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The Budget 2013: Another Nail in the Tory Coffin

by Will Wallace

I am not an economist - nor do I fully understand most aspects of economics. I do, however, know that this year’s Budget is nothing more than a red box full of piffle. It might surprise some people that, unlike most Conservatives, I think that Osborne’s Plan A is completely the wrong approach, and that cutting spending will only cause further stagnation and increased unemployment.

Thankfully however, my know-how is politics, not the economy, so I’ll talk about that. In just over a month, the country will be going to the polls to vote in local elections. After last year’s spanking, Cameron really cannot afford another decrease in the share of the vote - which is why all eyes have been on the Budget. Certainly, the price of beer has dropped by a penny, Britain has the lowest corporation tax in the G20, fuel duty has been frozen for another year, personal income has risen - taking more people out of tax - and there has been increased investment in infrastructure projects. This is all good news, in fact, brilliant news.

Sadly though, these morsels of good decisions will be overshadowed by the fact that our growth forecast has been halved, our credit rating has been downgraded and we are heading for a triple-dip recession. If Osborne wanted to rectify the situation, then he should have risen to the dispatch box to admit that Plan A (austerity) has not and will not work, and that we should look toward a Plan B of increased investment and borrowing. Although this appears illogical, it isn’t, as Henry Cunnison explains.

To win the next election, we Conservatives need to attract the centre ground of opinion. Despite all the positive measures that Osborne has announced, the Budget fails to connect with those voters. The Chancellor is maintaining a dogmatic style of policy making, in which he prioritises his ideological commitment to cutting spending over the crystal clear need to go in the other direction.

  When voters go to the polls in May, at the 2014 European elections and at the 2015 general election, they won’t determine how they vote by personal allowance or the price of beer, but by the general state of the economy. Osborne has got it horribly wrong. Today has marked the beginning of the end for the Conservatives in government: today is yet another nail in the coffin. 

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