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Osborne under intense pressure to deliver radical Budget

By Tim Montgomerie
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The PM may be enjoying some very good headlines in this morning's newspapers but the Mail and the Telegraph don't provide happy reading for the Chancellor. In a week in which George Osborne had attempted to toughen his policy towards the banks the Daily Mail - not the Guardian, Mirror or Morning Star - declared this morning that "the Tories hang the police and Press out to dry while letting the real crooks - their banker chums - off scot free...". Gulp. I wonder, however, if it's The Daily Telegraph's extended leading article that will most worry Mr Osborne.

Here are some tasters from the leader - all direct quotations:

  • The cuts in public spending have been applied in the wrong areas;
  • George Osborne’s fiscal strategy has proved to be too timid;
  • The country is broke and recovery is not in sight;
  • The singular emphasis on austerity has been both defeatist and misleading;
  • Labour’s deficit has barely been touched;
  • While the number of people working for the state has fallen, the overall wage bill has gone up;
  • With the economy stubbornly refusing to move and with confidence low, bold measures are needed;
  • There are many things that this Government has got right, but in the area that matters most – the economy – it has not been nearly radical enough.
Another gulp.

The Telegraph wants the Chancellor to follow the Allister Heath recipe - bold self-financing tax cuts including the abolition of CGT and Irish-level corporation tax rates. They want, in other words, shock therapy. If the Chancellor refuses to believe that supply-side tax cuts can be self-financing they suggest deeper cuts including an end to the NHS ring-fence. Our own Andrew Lilico has already advocated this.

Alternatively - and more likely to secure his Coalition partners' agreement - Mr Osborne could launch a massive housebuilding programme of the kind advocated this week by Boris Johnson and which helped lift Britain out of the 1930s slump.


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