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March 17 2004

Click Here for Budget 2006-2007

Post Budget Resources 2004 - 2005

(See the full text of the Chancellor's speech here!)

Get a lot of information "from the horse's mouth" on the Treasury website:
http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/budget/budget_04/bud_bud04_index.cfm

BBC news produce a nice summary and in-depth analysis :
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/uk/2004/uk_budget_2004/default.stm

In-depth expert analysis of Budget 2004 by Andy Lindley

Summary Note

This is a deliberately dull Budget with only minor headline adjustments confirming the election run-up has started.

The rapid and massive growth of public expenditure continues, riding on the back of earlier increases in tax that sharply increases the tax-bill without apparent effort or effect on growth. Virtually all economic growth is taken in tax.

Extra spending is concentrated on education in England to bring it in line with the rapid growth of expenditure on health and previously of social security.

The Budget deficit may even be peaking out and might actually decline if everything else goes right.

Under the dull overall picture the Chancellor continues to fiddle with masses of detail micromanaging the economy, so there is a cascade of measures some with quite a sting, plus just a few pleasant surprises.

The economic outlook at present appears benign with rapid growth and public finances remaining just sound, whilst the underlying financial position is good even including off-balance sheet financing.

There are risks about, notably from inflation and interest rates, but they only really come home to roost after the election in 2005. So far success continues and the Chancellor has co-ordinated the political and economic cycles.

Even the Construction Industry should only have smaller problems to complain about e.g. the 19% corporation tax on very small companies, the revised Construction Industry Scheme for taxing the self-employed and cost inflation.

However it all depends on confidence remaining high to keep most people borrowing. A nasty shock or two and the vulnerability of the situation will be exposed. Let’s hope there are no big shocks.


A. Lindley 16.5.2004




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last modified: April 10, 2003