Piecemeal Budget delivers little
I just sat through the Budget and didn’t hear Osborne fully acknowledge he’d broken his key pledges from 2010. There was, however, an acknowledgement from the Chancellor that he had failed to meet his rule of debt falling as a proportion of GDP this year. We also heard Osborne announce the growth forecasts – all revised down for the next three years but there was not a lot in terms of the humility warranted.
I did hear a bit about small pilots and piecemeal projects offering replacement funding for some schemes that were decimated by previous Budgets – like flood defence schemes, or initiatives to tackle homelessness. I also think I heard another assault on local authority funding – including passing business rates to the Mayor of London. This could cost Southwark and undermine council funding further.
Whilst some tax changes may help some workers, there were no key unexpected announcements other than the sugar tax. But I heard nothing that would substantially benefit people in Bermondsey and Old Southwark. No significant house building funds, despite demand locally and the overall fall in home ownership. No transport infrastructure announcements, not even for the Rotherhithe-Canary Wharf bridge which is currently the subject of a viability study.
Osborne appeared to be trying to play it safe whilst he remains focused on securing the reins from Cameron when he steps down as Prime Minister, when he should be focused on the national economy and ensuring people in our bit of the heart of our capital have every opportunity it should offer.
The full Budget is online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/budget-2016
The BBC coverage is available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35813973