This was always going to be a rather modest budget. Having set out the Comprehensive Spending Review last year, the government had already decided its broad plan; we were never going to see much more than some minor tinkering.

Nevertheless, as a budget billed as a serious driver for growth, it is a disappointment. George Osborne seems to have a reasonable understanding of the problems that need tackling, but he seems shy of solutions.

Concerned about the regulatory burden on business and enterprise, the Chancellor announced that he would reduce the cost of compliance by £350m. But, even on his own figures, this is a tiny slice of the £90bn overall cost to companies. Cutting red tape by 0.4 percent is the tiniest baby step in the right direction, but it’s hardly going to supercharge the stuttering recovery.

Read the rest of the article on the Spectator CoffeeHouse blog.

Mark Littlewood

Director General, IEA

Mark Littlewood is the Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs and the IEA’s Ralph Harris Fellow. Under his leadership, the IEA has continued to communicate the benefits of free markets to an even wider audience around the world. In 2014, Mark was ranked 38th on The Times’ ‘Right-wing Power List’, and in 2011 was named ‘Liberal Voice of the Year’ by the Liberal Democrat Voice. Mark frequently comments on political and economic issues on television and radio including BBC Question Time, Any Questions, Newsnight, Channel 4 News, Sky News, Radio 4's Today Programme and LBC. Prior to the IEA, Mark was Head of Media for the Liberal Democrats before going on to found Progressive Vision, a classical liberal think tank. Mark was educated at Balliol College, Oxford.