What should the Budget deliver: low taxes or fiscal conservatism? Many on the Right of politics are demanding that this Budget begins the low tax revolution. Small businesses and entrepreneurs are campaigning for the abolition of the 50p rate. Writing this week, Benedict Brogan said that some words of John Redwood should be the new Tory mantra: “I don’t think we should be looking for more ways of taxing people.” The idea seems to be that the deficit dragon has been slain and the Chancellor can move on. If only that were true.
The Chancellor’s brave spending decisions in 2010, in the teeth of the fiercest opposition, certainly gained the confidence of the markets. So far in this Parliament, the credit ratings of Greece, Portugal, France, Spain and even the USA have been downgraded, but not that of the UK.
But his self-appointed task has barely begun. Of his planned spending cuts, only one pound in twenty has actually been implemented. And of greatest concern, his determination to stay the course is now in question.