Jill Kirby is a writer and policy analyst with a particular interest in family and welfare issues. Click here to read her Budget preview.
Well, I guess it was a faint hope that this would be a Budget for families. But I really wasn't expecting the Chancellor's peroration to have so many shades of Brown.
Instead of simplification, what we heard today was complex and fiddly. Rather than a sweeping away of regulation, there was a long list of micro initiatives. There was also the glossing over of obscure but unwelcome changes (such as the indexing of tax allowances to CPI rather than RPI) whilst bigging up the pre-announced goodies.
The much-trailed increase in the personal allowance to £7,475 is welcome and right, but for most families it will be offset by the increase in NI combined with the loss of child-related support.
Cutting petrol duty provided the Chancellor with his feel-good moment, but paying for it by a windfall tax on oil companies is another Brownian wheeze – superficially attractive what are the implications for tax certainty, investment and energy independence? Wouldn't it be greener, fairer to families and indeed
more Lawsonian to help families through direct tax cuts?
My rather grumpy conclusion this afternoon: mix blue and orange and what you get is Brown.