Budget briefings leave little room for surprise

The media briefings orchestrated over the last few days left hardly any surprises to come out of George Osborne’s budget announcement this afternoon.

Driving to work this morning, the country was treated to the news that first time buyers are going to be helped by a £250m fund which will help 10,000 people onto the housing ladder and give the construction industry a boost. A bit premature perhaps, but it was only following up what newspapers reported the previous day.

Before that, there were reports that the Government would cut tax on fuel, in the face of huge calls to help hard-pressed motorists.

And yesterday, Local Government Chronicle’s Alistair Hayman, ran with a story on today’s unveiling of 11 new Local Enterprise Zones, which bring significant tax breaks for local authorities (this is ‘subscriber only’ content, so there is little point in providing a link to it).

The budget is a very busy day to be a Government PR person, as it is one of those rare stories that affects everyone and attracts blanket coverage as a result. But the work put in during the days before Mr Osborne taking to the dispatch box are also worthwhile and necessary.

Here are some links to more detail on the announcement today.
George Osborne’s budget statement in full.
DCLG’s post-budget press statement (detailing the FirstBuy scheme and the ambition to accelerate development on public land).
The Treasury’s South West regional budget announcement.
Budget 2011: what it means for you – FT.

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