We all know what Real Capitalism is. It's a system where real people take real risk, invest real time in real work and reap real rewards for their efforts. A day's work for a day's pay. Markets are used, but not venerated. Competition is welcomed, but made subject to proper regulation and supervision. People are rewarded and respected for their aspiration, energy and innovation – not for being in the right place at the right time.
This country is emerging from a time of fake capitalism, matched by fake government. A time when Fred Goodwin could destroy an august 200-year old financial institution and squander billions in shareholder value, then walk away with a fortune and have a government minister sign off on his pension. A time when the economy became grossly unbalanced, and executive compensation soared inside and outside the financial sector, with little or no relation to performance. A time of increased complexity, short-termism, bureaucracy and regulation.
This Budget is an important move from fake to real. It starts to simplify the tax system and to reward investment and entrepreneurship. It supports small business and new start-ups. It cracks down on illegitimate tax avoidance. It brings welcome clarity to the foggy areas of National Insurance and pensions saving. It encourages charitable giving and stimulates social enterprise.
Much more can be done over the life of this government. But given the debt crisis we are in, and the very limited financial headroom the Chancellor has, it's a cracking start.