This was a technocrat’s budget, implemented at the behest of unelected figures in the OBR.


In the run up to the Spring Budget, there was a wide-ranging discussion on what Chancellor Jeremy Hunt should do, as well as how wide his room for manoeuvre was, considering the strictures placed on him by the projections from the Office of Budget Responsibility. 

Some useful suggestions for the Chancellor included an imaginative and credible 10-point plan from the Legatum Institute, supported by MPs from a wide cross section of the party; a plea from Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg to "be Nigel Lawson, not Gordon Brown" and warnings from many, perhaps best summed up in one Telegraph article, that "the Tories are being crushed by their blind faith in incompetent technocrats". 

Whilst gratifying to have others coming round to PopCon's over-arching analysis that Britain needs fundamental institutional reform (a major reason for launching as outlined here), it was still hugely disappointing and frustrating to see the Chancellor choose to double down on a technocratic, rather than high growth, approach to the economy on March 7th.

This approach appears to have made few happy, at least if the GB News People’s Poll released on Thursday night is anything to go by. The result - that the Tories have now sunk to 18% - appears to show that most agree with the Sunday Telegraph Editor's sentiments and conclusion that "Britain is a supertanker aiming straight for the rocks". 



Hunt started his address to the Commons with the astute observation that “lower taxes mean higher growth”, yet by 2028 the country will be suffering the highest tax burden seen in 80 years. In part, this is driven by out-of-control public expenditure. Woke initiatives in Whitehall, the NHS, and local councils inflict a huge annual cost on the taxpayer – up to £8bn a year! These woke policies alone dwarf the Chancellor’s plans to reduce public spending by 0.15% of GDP – equivalent to £5bn a year – which will barely touch the sides. 

The inevitable outcome of mass migration has been a fall in GDP per capita – which is currently undergoing its longest period of stagnation on record and will not abate until next year at the earliest.

  Source: OBR Economic and Fiscal Outlook

Ultimately this was a technocrat’s budget, implemented at the behest of unelected figures in the OBR. Despite getting its growth forecasts wrong by over half a trillion pounds since 2010, the quango is more powerful than ever and seem determined to have the UK continue as a low-wage, low-productivity economy with high levels of mass migration.

As people see a fall in their living standards, and have little optimism for the future, the government should look to embrace an agenda of popular conservatism that has growth, not managed decline, as its key priority. 

This means ignoring the technocrats and adopting policy changes Government can deliver rapidly - such as those outlined in Legatum Institute's ten-point plan mentioned above, or the Growth Commission's rival 2024 Growth Budget which found that the average Brit will be almost £2,000 better off if net migration is cut to 50k a year, that a focus on improving regulation would boost GDP per capita by up to £6,000, and that a cut to corporation tax would massively increase tax revenue for public services.

It is through these sorts of polices, and the growth which they promote - combined with a complete overhaul of Britain’s creaking and stifling bureaucracy - that conservatism can be made into a popular force that is capable of winning the next election and steer the good ship United Kingdom off the rocks and into calmer waters.


Further analysis of the Spring Budget:

Jacob Rees-Mogg: 'Nickel and dime' Spring Budget WON'T make a lot of difference!'

Mark Littlewood: People don’t just want to see taxes not go up, they want to see taxes go down

Suella Braverman: Budget 'wasn't enough'

The Telegraph: The OBR has become a millstone around the Chancellor’s neck

Iain Martin: Here’s the number we can’t afford to ignore (thetimes.co.uk)