Ed Miliband, the Leader of the Labour Party, struggled to see off the jubilance of Conservative benches at the 2014 Budget. The Chancellor was able to spend the first part of the speech patting himself on the back for much better growth figures than expected.
Early on in the parliamentary term Ed Miliband set great store on the suggestion that reforms “are hurting but they are not working”. That central theme was well and truly dead today, as the Office Budget Responsibility predicted growth would be 2.7 percent and the deficit would disappear in 2018.
But perhaps the most menacing thing for the Labour leader is some of the policies on savings. Some of the eye-catching policies include improving ISAs, raising Premium Bond limits and giving pensioners the ability to take up out to one quarter of their pension pot at 20 percent tax (down from 55 percent).
These policies will appeal to older, middle class voters, the sort of people that the Conservatives have been losing to the UK Independence Party (UKIP).
Other populist policies include reducing tax on bingo to 10 percent, cutting Beer Duty by 1p per pint, and Scotch Whiskey Duty has been frozen: perhaps even a play to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom. Osborne raised the income tax threshold to £10,500, a tax cut for 25 million people.
If you privately talk to Labour MPs, they are convinced Ed will lose the next election, but then again Conservatives are unsure about Dave. The truth is that with a real economic recovery and help for hard pressed savers, the Conservatives are now firmly back in the game.
More and more of us are starting to wonder whether 2015 will be like 1992, when middle England wasn’t brave enough to risk the recovery by electing a left-wing Labour government.