One of the great flaws in the Budget is that the Government are relying on a bounce-back in private investment, for which there is barely a precedent, and nor is there any evidence from the business community that it might happen.
Make no bones about it, since the Chancellor sat down a fortnight ago, the gloom has grown. However, the Finance Bill does not adjust the Government's strategy. All we have heard from the Chief Secretary this afternoon is a very clear economic credo: where there is worry, let us spread fear, and where there is risk, let us bring danger. Whereas the Labour Government planned to halve the deficit in four years-a plan that the Chancellor's own independent advisers said we were on track to deliver, and which the G20 said met its timetable-this Chancellor has added nearly £40 billion in new tax rises and spending cuts. He has locked us on a course to slash away come what may, and, in a world full of risk, he is now preaching to others to do the same.
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