I am sure George Osborne’s second Budget will soon be forgotten. The public will not thank him much for avoiding the scheduled rise in petrol duties – being hit by a bullet is more noticeable than dodging one. And the growth agenda – laudable though it is in its intentions – is hardly new for British chancellors.
In the minutes after an admirably clear speech from the chancellor without last year’s duplicitous use of numbers, the striking thing about the newish and independent Office for Budget Responsibility is the number of times it has taken the approach – “We hear what you are saying, but forget it”.
- Growth: The OBR had the opportunity to endorse the “plan for growth” by raising its estimate of the long-term potential growth rate of the economy. It said forget it:
“We do not believe there is sufficiently strong evidence to justify changing our trend growth assumption in light of policy measures announced in Budget 2011″.
- Growth forecasts: The OBR downgrades