I will keep it short and simple (similar to most politicians!).
We had a chance in yesterdays budget to really start pushing in a new direction but the Chancellor decided to stick to what he knows works i.e. the 80's! The situation feels very similar to the recessions of the 80's with high unemployment being blamed on those who are out of work rather than looking at the economy as a whole and saying what can we all do.
The Government thinks that simply restricting spending is somehow going to make everybody sit up and go 'I could have started my business before, but now that we are in a recession - the time is right - lets do it!' There will be some fantastic businesses that emerge out of this recession but they would have done that anyway. There are far more decent, hard working businesses that have not and will not make it.
To say that the public sector was preventing these businesses from growing is pure folly.
There are opportunities to reduce spending on a local level but sadly, the government has decided to turn it's back on these areas and hit the softer services that are actually vital to society functioning properly.
I agree that NI and Income tax should be merged, I fail to see why it will take six years to consult on it - that is not even implementing it!
The penny off fuel has been seen through by the public very quickly as a marketing and PR stunt - talk for an hour and everyone remembers the last minute! The Government has only got itself to blame on this as the public have become very wary of anything that they are told by Cameron &co.
So where did we miss an opportunity?
Osbourne himself admits 'I cannot control the price of fuel - only the tax upon it'. We have never been able to control the price of fuel and never will be able to, regardless of how close an eye he keeps on the oil companies (very easy to do it if you lunch with them and they attend party fundraisers!).
We had the choice to take some independent green steps. We could have left the fuel charges where they were, still taken the oil tax money and maybe even put airfuel charges up to encourage people to holiday in the UK rather than abroad. I heard one commentator say, 'It is only fair that the average family should have at least one holiday abroad each year, so holding the fuel charge makes sense.' What planet are they on?
We could have taken the tax from pollution generators and invested it in green technology, to remove our reliance on oil. We could put solar PV panels on every sports ground in the country, we could put them on every council house in the country, we could use wave generation technology (as we live on an island with huge tidal changes), we could have given tax breaks to electric cars throughout the country but we didn't.
We encouraged people to drive more, fly more and build where they want and how they want.
That is not progressive, that is the language of the 80's and it will result in the same end.
Big business and the City of London traders try to over centralise and control the money and therefore the power. This is a dangerous and corrupt path to walk down and I hope we can find a nice seat to sit down on soon, look around and make a path of our own for others to follow. Unfortunately, it will now be another twelve months before we have this option again. I wonder what the price of oil will be then?