An action-packed and politically charged budget

Economy photoDownload an extended note on the Budget here.

The 2015 general election was a speed camera for austerity, or so we thought. Given the content of the Budget back in March, the chancellor had been expected to put his foot down on the austerity accelerator. Instead, however, he is set to keep the austerity drive in cruise control, with the pace to remain steady.

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Budget 2015: a temporary speed camera for austerity

One pound coin on fluctuating graph. Rate of the pound sterling

This Budget more than any of the Osborne Budgets that went before it had one eye on the election. Previous Budgets focused on protecting the older generation, and again today we saw this with the confirmation of more pension flexibility for those people with annuities. However the younger so-called ‘jilted generation’ also featured on two key fronts – first of all, with employers national insurance contributions waived for under 21s and an additional waiver for employers hiring apprentices next year; and secondly with the Help to Buy ISA, through which first time buyers will receive a bonus of up to £3,000 for saving for a deposit. While this is welcome and will undoubtedly be attractive to many first time buyers, in Northern Ireland it is perhaps less economically significant than in the South East of England, as the issue with the local housing market is that there are too many potential home movers in negative equity or with not enough equity to move.

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