The Scotsman: “The most salient critique I have seen thus far has come from the Centre for Policy Studies.”

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"As for the Budget aftermath generally, the most salient critique I have seen thus far has come, ironically, from the Thatcherite think-tank, the Centre for Policy Studies. While it finds much that is commendable, “what was missing”, it says, “was a clear sense of direction, an overall strategy for economic reform”. It lacked the “bold clarity of the great Howe and Lawson reforming budgets of the 1980s. Where was the big picture?”

 This lack of a coherent and cogent strategy, it argued, exposed some internal contradictions. While George Osborne announced pro-growth supply-side reforms and kept to the programme of deficit reduction, he also “increased tax complexity, increased pork-barrel spending and gave higher estimates for cyclically adjusted net borrowing.

“What is needed now”, it added, “is a dynamic programme of supply-side reform, clearly focused on increasing productivity – the only sustainable route to greater prosperity for all.”

But productivity was not mentioned once in the Budget speech and the OBR forecasts relied heavily on a “very optimistic assumption” that business investment will increase as a share of GDP from 8.2 per cent to 10.8 per cent at the end of 2018."

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