Following a strong start to 2014, Osborne can be more confident that the economic recovery has become self-sustaining. The Office for Budget Responsibility’s economic growth forecasts show the UK economy is growing faster than any other developed nation, as Government borrowing continues to fall as a percentage of GDP. However, the medium-term looks less certain and forecasts still predict that the structural deficit will not be eliminated until 2018/19. On the basis of these figures however, we can expect Osborne to continue to claim credit for growth while cautioning that there can be no end to austerity.
George Osborne’s Budget, his penultimate before next May’s election, appeals to businesses big and small, tries to shore up the shaky UKIP-leaning Tory vote, and continues with Osborne’s long repeated theme that the Tories have returned the economy to growth but that there can be no end to austerity. Below we single out the key announcements and who Osborne wants to hear them.