So what? Reaction to the Pre Budget Report

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There are two possible reactions to the pre-budget report.

There is the drivel that George Osborne is speaking as I write: an absurd and economically illiterate response to the pressures of a global recession.

There is a more reasoned reaction.

I have already criticised VAT cuts: I stand by that analysis. I am afraid that this is the wrong fiscal stimulus for the times. The real answer now was jobs: jobs and jobs and we have not had enough of those. Nor will this go to the low paid.

The claim that there will be 1 million green jobs is not the result of this budget.

The VAT cut provides some help to retailers and few others.

I simply didn't get the rest of package for recovery. That was disappointing.

So too was the announcement of a dividend tax exemption scheme for big business: I hope the detail is good. The last one was not. Much of that detail will depend upon the new controlled foreign company rules. If they're not strong we're in for a fleecing there, and remember almost none of the companies that have left actually paid any significant UK tax.

I welcome the 45% tax rate - but an increase in NIC on those earning over £100,000 would be better - as would NIC on investment income over £5,000 a year. They can't be avoided nearly so easily. And this will require a more radical appraoch to tax avoidance.

His restriction on the value of the personal allowance over £100,000 is straight from my The Missing Billions - which is pleasing. Now go further, I say.

I'm worried about the government becoming lender of last resort to business: who is going to staff this? It feels worrying to me.

I heard far too little about bank re-regulation.

I welcome a review of the regulation of finances in the Crown Dependencies, but note it has been ducked to the EU. This is our issue, our problem, and it's ours to close it down, now. I hope the EU does it for us.

I welcome the benefit boots: they are needed. The moves on pensions are especially welcome and this time they have not made an inflation counter mistake.

I'm not ecstatic: I am extraordinarily relieved George Osborne is not in power.

I have to go and read the detail.