Alistair Darling’s first Budget was a Budget for uncertain times. Given the current global turbulence, the Government have taken no chances. This is not the time for a showstopping Budget.
But the Government have nevertheless reconfirmed their priorities in this Budget, and have shown they are determined to achieve their social goals. This Budget will help the elderly, with raises in Pension Credits and winter fuel allowances; it will help those struggling with rising energy prices; and it will bring an additional 250,000 children out of poverty, reaffirming its commitment to end child poverty by 2020. Climate change was also high on the agenda—though the Government have delayed a rise in fuel duty to help those facing high costs.
The main aim now has to be to get through the next twelve months, and weather the economic uncertainty that lies ahead.
John McFall is the Labour Member of Parliament for West Dunbartonshire and Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee.