Osborne's crowd-pleasing budget creates new challenges

An overhaul of stamp duty, a scaling back of tax breaks for bankers and a ‘Google tax’ are all likely to please British voters, but the measures will do little to fix the budget deficit.

There was a time when Britain’s annual budget was a closely kept state secret. The Chancellor of the Exchequer would disappear into purdah weeks before he told the House of Commons what he proposed. In 1947, the Chancellor, Hugh Dalton, resigned after he blurted details of his budget to the political correspondent of the London Evening Star, which rushed into print before Dalton began to speak. In a TV age, that resignation appears more than old fashioned. It is history.

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