The Adam Smith Institute's Head of Policy, Ben Southwood, contributed to the Guardian's expert panel for the 2014 Budget.
Read the full article here.
"According to the Intergeneration Foundation, the median age of an actual voter in 2010 was 49. With this in mind it shouldn't be surprising that we have a state pension "triple-lock", or that the so-called rabbit hat in chancellor George Osborne's 2014 budget was a radical pension reform, handing over much more leeway to savers to organise their own finances. Other than this reform the budget was boring, and the sums of money involved, were, in budget terms, pitiful.
"The announcements with the biggest cheers included halving bingo duties to 10%, taking 1p off beer duty, and scrapping inheritance tax for workers in the emergency services who die on the job.
"Where was the long-awaited merger of employee national insurance contributions (NICs) and income tax? Everyone now knows that the two sources of revenue go into a single homogeneous pot – but failing to merge them obscures the fact that the low NIC threshold means workers earning just £149 a week end up paying what is effectively income tax.
"Where was the accelerated and increased hike in the personal allowance? One of the government's greatest successes has been taking the low paid out of tax (3m more now pay no income tax at all, they say). Where was the expected extra cut to corporation tax? The rate will fall to 21% this year and 20% next year, but research suggests it is one of the least efficient taxes.
"Last, but certainly not least, where was the change to the Bank of England's remit? CPI targeting failed spectacularly in the last recession, allowing a deep, long-lasting slump. Current growth is well below where it should be with such a strong labour market.
"All in all the chancellor delivered an uncontroversial, tinkering, centrist budget. Its pro-retiree slant might be electorally sensible, and perhaps even a simplifying improvement. But it has left the bigger fiscal and macroeconomic issues completely untouched."