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Budget 2013: What the papers say

THE PAPERS HAVE IMMEDIATELY BEGUN DISECTING the impact of George Osborne’s Budget, with the Guardian branding it “populist” as the chancellor attempted to crowd please with help for homebuyers, motorists and beer-drinkers.

Despite those moves, the paper insisted there was still “gloom” as he revealed disappointing economic figures, while there was “embarrassment” over the leak of details to the Evening Standard, which tweeted an image of its front page early in error.

The Standard itself led with the chancellor’s declaration that the economy “could be a lot worse”, noting a “strong emphasis on jobs, home-ownership and small businesses”.

The Daily Mail, however, was less impressed, insisting middle class families have been left worse off, branding the £1,200 allowance per child for working parents “‘nanny subsidies for the well-heeled” as mothers who choose to stay at home to look after their children will receive nothing.

Osborne claimed such moves were made to reward those who “want to work hard and get on”, but there was criticism too for his omission of a tax break for married couples.

The decision to use £15.5bn of taxpayers’ money to underwrite the mortgages of hundreds of thousands of buyers of newly-built homes in order to stimulate the market drew a mixed reaction, with the Telegraph warning it could lead to a new housing bubble.

Labelling it an “overtly political move with an eye firmly fixed on the 2015 general election”, the Telegraph added that commentators are concerned he “risked causing another unsustainable boom in the housing market, putting billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money at risk”.

After his “omnishambles” Budget in 2012 – which saw embarrassing U-turns on Cornish pasty and caravan taxes – the press this time was more restrained and considered, with some praising the use of underspent funds from government departments to deliver an “aspirational” Budget.

Despite that, though, the Telegraph said Osborne “buried the bad news” and noted his initiatives would “do little to alter the overall economic pattern”.

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