In his address, which lasted an hour, it was disappointing that the Chancellor made no reference to the need to encourage consumers to save and in particular to address the pensions crisis.
The Childs Trust Fund should be given some merit in that it can be seen as educational and a form of easily saving. But at £250 – £500 maximum, and means tested at the top end, it is hardly going to change the world for babies in 18 years time.
While small businesses should be pleased – cutting red tape, raising VAT thresholds and credits – there was absolutely nothing to prevent the continuing closure of defined benefit schemes – the pensions crisis continues.
I am pleased that long-term, the Government has inflation clearly under control with a 2.5 per cent target. This will give us greater security for long-term planning. From an industry perspective, this felt a 'so what' budget, more notable for what it didn't do than for anything positive. Being grateful for small mercies, there was no attack on the 5% tax free concession for bonds, other than minor tinkering.
But on the negative there was no simplification of a tax and benefit structure so, mind numbingly complex, most ordinary people fail to take advantage of the little details
There were no measures or pension provision – an unfolding crisis in which the government seems as paralysed as a rabbit in headlights and IHT is becoming an involuntary middle class stealth tax as house price rises push very many families through threshold.