Douglas Carswell

16 MAR 2016

Another Osbrown budget means more debt and clever gimmickry

George Osborne will doubtless try to pull some surprises out of his budget red box today. But after six years, we know what to expect: more gimmicks, more borrowing, and more taxes.

Osborne used to criticise Gordon Brown for doubling the length of Tolley's tax guide. But his constant tinkering has made the tax code even longer and more complex. The biggest beneficiaries of his chancellorship are lawyers and accountants.

This budget will be full of gimmicks about infrastructure. We'll hear more about the Northern Powerhouse and shiny new railways, but there's no substance behind the spin. Government investment spending, including infrastructure, has more than halved since he took office in 2010 - from over 3% of GDP then to under 1.5% today.

The Chancellor likes to style himself as Britain's Robert Moses, but he's no master builder. After six years, this Government hasn't even managed to agree a plan for a new runway, let alone build one.

Osborne likes gimmicks and his minor giveaways tend to reek of pork barrel politics. Every budget, he uses taxpayers' money to buy off his favourite backbenchers. Today, he'll no doubt be rewarding MPs who have sold out over the EU. But will it be the kiss of death?

I suspect this Chancellor is approaching a day of reckoning. For all the talk of austerity, Osborne has ducked dealing with the deficit, and left us unprepared for the next crisis. Just a few months ago, he claimed to have conjured up another £27 billion based on overoptimistic economic projections. Now the economy is deteriorating, he has nowhere to hide.

Osbrown manipulation has crashed our economy. It's time for a new approach. Let's close the deficit by saving public money – not least the £55 million a day we send to Brussels. And let's unleash the economy with lower, simpler, fairer taxes.

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