Global markets might be turbulent, but the UK is better placed to deal with nasty surprises than almost anyone. This was the argument made by George Osborne as he delivered his 2016 Budget. The Chancellor admitted that growth forecasts for the UK economy have been downgraded, and that he has missed his debt target for this year: debt has not fallen as a proportion of GDP. However, these shortcomings were framed in an international context. Osborne announced that, provided it stays in the European Union, the UK will grow faster than any comparable economy in the coming years.
The Chancellor also announced that every state school is to become a self-governing academy by the end of this parliament, and that corporation tax is to fall from 20 per cent to 17 per cent by 2020. Several incentives to save were also announced, including a lifetime ISA for those under 40, to which the government will contribute £1 for every £4 put in.
Perhaps the most news-worthy announcement, though, was for a sugar tax on soft drinks. David Buck, Senior Fellow at the King’s Fund, contributes on this as part of our expert panel below. Other contributors include Emma Maier, Editor of Inside Housing, and Andrew Haldenby, Director of the Reform think tank.