LDV does a good job of summing up the PBR.
• VAT to be cut from 17.5% to 15% from Monday until 2010
• Top rate of income tax to rise to 45% on those earning more than £150,000 – the top 1% of earners – from 2011
• Allowances to be raised, so this will be worth £145 a year to 22 million basic-rate taxpayers
• National Insurance to rise by 0.5% on all rates of national insurance from 2011
No. Not good enough Mr Darling.
The government IS going to borrow far too much. The sheer scale of the borrowing means that in the future, it's going to be a pain in the backside to lower the national debt. Worse, the Treasury is making optimistic noises about the economy, so Darling can get away with the tax rises that are designed more to be seen to be doing something than actually to reinforce the economy.
But the much more interesting result of yesterdays announcements is that it is driving the Tories - who previously, let us recall, wanted a new Age of Consensus, fron the centre ground, back towards Thatcherism. I was very sceptical of the Lib Dem situation yesterday, but if both parties are abandoning the centre ground, this can only be good news for Clegg. Everybody knows the economy is bad. Everybody knows that Labour and the Conservatives are going to be in the boxing ring for the next year or so. The last time this happened was before Mr Cameron's time as leader. The squeeze in the centre has been forcing our poll rates down as both sides attempt to appeal to the centrist swing voters. Now that this 3 year battle is over, we can finally start to sound properly different from both Brown and Cameron again. Every time there has been a Labour-Tory punch up in the last 20 years, the Lib Dems have gained seats.
Long may the battle continue.