Budget: The East Midlands gives its reaction

George Osborne with the 2015 Budget Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A traditional pose outside 11 Downing Street on Budget morning

So who are the winners and loses after George Osborne's last Budget before the general election?

Certainly, Tory MPs defending marginal East Midlands seats left the Commons chamber looking surprisingly upbeat.

"There's certainly enough to offer those hard-working families in constituencies like mine," Mark Spencer said.

This Budget matters to him in Nottinghamshire. He's defending a 219 Conservative majority over a strong Labour challenger in his Sherwood constituency. It's the most marginal Labour-Conservative seat in the region.

Image caption Conservative Mark Spencer is defending a tiny majority at the general election

The business community in the East Midlands offered a rather more sober reaction.

"With a general election within touching distance, it was important for the Chancellor to use the final Budget of this Parliament to play a steady hand, rather than making any politically-motivated announcements," said George Cowcher, chief executive of the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce.

But does George Osborne have a winning rather than a steady hand? Between now and polling day, the contents of this Chancellor's Budget will be picked over.

Image caption There are bigger cuts to come, warns Labour MP Chris Leslie

Nottingham East's Chris Leslie, Labour's Chief Secretary to the Treasury, warned of much bigger spending cuts around the corner.

"It's quite simple. If you want to know the Tories' plans for public services, just look at the comments of the Office of Budget Responsibility. It says the cuts 'rollercoaster' falls into 'sharp acceleration' to 2018."

Another closer look at the details of the Chancellor's Budget book also reveals his priorities for regional investment. There were ample references in his Commons speech to the "Northern Powerhouse".

Yes, he stressed the importance of sharing the recovery across the country as a whole.

Yes, there's £100m for the Midlands motor industry to research driverless technology: That'll have opportunities for Hinckley-based MIRA, the Leicestershire enterprise zone on the site of the Motor Industry Research Association, and maybe for Derbyshire-based Toyota as well.

Image copyright Google
Image caption There was £100m funding in the budget to research driverless technology in the Midlands

My colleague Chris Doidge, Radio Derby's Political Reporter, spotted 60 mentions in the Chancellor's Red Budget book to the northern cities. Manchester gets 25 references. The Midlands only managed 12: Birmingham on nine, Derby and Leicester on one each. Poor old Nottingham, gets no mention at all!

Should the Midlands as a whole - let alone the East Midlands' cities - be alarmed? Not according to Mark Spencer.

"I'm not worried about that, he added.

"Actually it's an opportunity now for Derby, Leicester and Nottingham to get together to bid to the Chancellor for the East Midlands powerhouse."

If the East and West Midlands feels left out, you can guarantee Conservative cabinet ministers in Midlands seats will want to put the record straight between now and polling day.