Kevin Reed, Accountancy Age, Wednesday 23 June 2010 at 12:17:00

The Guardian writes of Lib Dems' "hands in blood", The Telegraph writes of a "breath of fresh air"


The FT flagged up differing opinions in the investment industry over the potential effect of spending cuts and tax rises.

Legal & General's Jonathan Cooke said the fiscal tightening might "kill the patient before it recovers". BofA Merrill Lynch's John Wraith said that if the growth and borrowing forecasts were accurate then the UK's triple A rating was "cast iron".

The Times' headline was: "Osborne unveils axe-and-tax pact", referring to the "harshest Budget of a generation".

In its leader column, The Times wrote of restoring "clarity and sanity to Britain's finances".

"There was no flicker of the ideological fervour for cuts of which Labour has been warning; only a sense of regret and realism, coupled with an apparent desire to tell the bad news straight, rather than hiding it in footnotes," it said.

However the paper suggests that the forecast of unemployment peaking this year seems "optimistic".

The Guardian included details of Labour's claims that Lib Dem leader and deputy PM Nick Clegg had turned into a Tory "patsy". He defended himself by stating that he had agreed with Osborne over dinner a month ago that the consolidation should represent a planned for a five-year parliament, with the bulk of the details spelled out now.

Its editorial column stated that Osborne had taken two enormous wagers, but had pulled off two tactical victories.

If the economy collapses under the strain, and the Lib Dems ditch the Tories, we will have another recession. But he has achieved bringing the Lib Dems into dipping their hands "in the blood of the cuts to come" The public has also accepted that public sector downsizing is needed.

The editorial described the cuts as "unnecessary both in their timing and their size". It flags up the lack of a plan B, and of "years of hostility" ahead between the government and public sector workers.

The Telegraph's editorial the Budget as a "breath of fresh air", and congratulated the government for "biting the bullet" on VAT.

It said that Osborne had given the private sector room to breathe, and "step into the breach" left by the public sector's enforced retreat.

Further reading:

Corporation tax cut to 24% opens up UK to overseas probes

Advisers fear Budget anti-avoidance plans

Budget CGT hike fails to deter avoidance opportunities