Deputy Director of the Adam Smith Institute Sam Bowman gives a Budget round-up for Economia:
There was very little in this Budget to get excited about, either positively or negatively. Against a backdrop of astonishingly high employment and a strongly growing economy was a Budget filled with tiny little giveaways to worthy, but inconsequential, causes like the church roof repair fund. Instead of the big cuts to inheritance tax that many had hoped for, the chancellor fiddled while the economy boomed.
Employment is now at both the highest level and the highest rate since records began. Since 2010, 80% of the new jobs created are full time, and wages are finally now beginning to rise above inflation. The country is growing at a decent clip and is projected to continue growing at just under 2.5% annually until 2020 at least.
The main fly in the ointment here, as it has been for years, is productivity, which is still very weak. One reason for this may be that business investment is still very low compared to its pre-crisis level; other than cutting taxes on capital (thus boosting investment) there seems to be little the government can cost-effectively do to help this.