The first day of Spring, and a spritely Budget from Chancellor George Osborne.
If the facts and figures given by the Chancellor are true, as of course they must be, then the Budget statement augers well for the U.K. economy in the coming months and years. It was blazoned as the Aspiratiion Nation Budget, for those who aspire to achieve through hard work and benefit from the government's policies for those who do something for themselves, in a fiercely competitive global environment where jobs can be re-located anywhere.
"All Western nations live in very economically challenging times", said the Chancellor. Yet, British exports to Brazil, China and India are up by two-thirds.
Unemployment has been down since the coalition government came in. For every one job lost in the public sector, six new jobs have been created in the private sector, thanks to the government policies to encouraging job creation and enterprise.
This government is reducing borrowing, and helping the nation live within its means. "The Labour government borrowed £159 billion in its last year in office. By comparison, this government has borrowed £114 billion last year." Project figures for the years ahead are on a similar note. Less and less borrowing each year, reducing as a ratio of GDP. Which would ensure continuing low interst rates, I guess, and a stable environment for growth.
In this regard, "unconventional monetary tools" would be deployed. I imagine a trans-Atlantic influence when the new Bank of England boss Mark Carney takes over. Some indication of the new tools will become clear in June.
Government departments are to spend £11 billion less this year. "The year end rush to spend whatever is remaining in the kitty has to stop". This seems a sound policy, to curb extra extra ordinary spending before 5th April each year which used to be the tradition. In hard times, it is essential to use money wisely.
On the more positive side, an additional £130 billion will be available from April 2014 under the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme that will enable people buy a house (old or new) under the Help to Buy scheme. And the Right to Buy Scheme is to be extended, so people can buy their council houses.
An additional 15,000 new Affordable Houses are to be built, and this will certainly bring cheer to many, many people.
This was a brilliant Budget, delivered by a Chancellor who is very much in touch with the aspirations of the people, in a fiercely competitive global environment. He commends it to the people, and his dropping of the 2p extra on beer is something people can cheer with.
There are other good measures in this Budget, which I will write up later.