The headline announcement of a 1% annual drop in corporation tax from 28% to 24% is welcome for the business community, who were, beyond anything else, desperate for evidence of a clear plan. The budget certainly gave that clarity. With no single interest group emerging as a clear winner, instead it is merely degrees of who stood to lose the most. The rise in VAT to 20% could prove to be a burden on the retail and consumer based industries, though the increase in entrepreneurs tax relief will please those who own and are employed within their own businesses.
The Budget was evidence of George Osborne's tactical brain at work - his coalition partners will be feeling outmanoeuvred, and outflanked. The Chancellor's ability to divert his critics was impressive and it is illustrative that the Labour party chose to focus their attacks on what they described as the hypocrisy of the increasingly troubled Lib Dems.
Ultimately, this was a bold, intelligent, and risky Budget, which, if all goes to plan will place the Chancellor as one of the greatest political operators ever to have occupied Number 11. The reaction of the financial markets welcoming the statement demonstrates the belief in his plan, and will have ensured that that this Budget will creditably address Britain's sovereign debt. For the Conservatives, this should be regarded as a triumph, with Cameron and Osborne politically insulated by the Lib Dems. The Lib Dems should feel sore, and labour will reserve their ire until the effects begin to bite
Of course this is merely part one of a two-stage process that will see departmental budgets slashed by up to 25%. Seasoned political operators are reserving their full judgment until the results of that spending review can also be viewed alongside this budget.