So far so good. Many extra jobs have been created. The economy is growing at a reasonable pace. Inflation is low. On average real wages are going up. The deficit is coming down.
The critics were proved wrong. The UK did not go back into recession. There was no treble dip. We avoided the sorry course of economic development in most Euroland economies which stayed in recession or went back into recession after the 2008 crisis. UK Unemployment came down, despite the predictions of rising unemployment. The private sector more than made up for the reduction in public sector headcount. Critics were even proved wrong about the cost of living crisis, highlighting energy bills just before the price of oil and gas collapsed.
However, we still wish to see stronger rises in living standards, in real wages, and more people getting good jobs with decent prospects. No-one should be happy with current average income levels, nor relaxed all the time there are people without jobs or in jobs that are poorly paid.There are still many young people to educate, many people who need better skills and qualifications. More people can work for themselves and set up businesses. The next few years should be about real pay rises, as the UK works smarter and better. They also have to be about continued progress in removing the public sector deficit, which by general agreement remains too high.
The budget should explain how far we have come from the crisis, and how much more there is to do. I would like to hear a vision of a UK with more people running their own businesses, with more people owning a home, with more people gaining qualifications and getting the rewards for higher skills. I want to hear of tax cuts to come, so people can keep more of their own money and make better provision for their own families. I want to hear and see more measures to allow enterprise to flourish, including tax measures that allow the successful at establishing new businesses to keep more of their returns.
As this is the last budget of this coalition, doubtless any Income Tax cut will have to be in the form of a further increase in the Tax threshold. I do not mind, as Conservatives want tax cuts and will accept whatever ones the Lib Dems allow.
What would you like the Budget to include?