UK Politics

Budget 2014: Reaction in quotes

George Osborne Image copyright Reuters

"With the help of the British people we're turning our country around," Chancellor George Osborne told MPs in his Budget statement.

"We're building a resilient economy. This is a Budget for the makers, the doers, and the savers."

But what have others made of his announcements?

Opposition leader Ed Miliband

The chancellor spoke for nearly an hour but he did not mention one central fact: the working people of Britain are worse off under the Tories. Living standards down, month after month, year after year. Their 2010 manifesto promised "an economy where people's standard of living rises steadily and sustainably". But they have delivered exactly the opposite. Standards of living not rising steadily and sustainably, but falling sharply and steeply.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg

I'm extremely proud of what we've presented for savers, for workers, to make sure that we keep energy-intensive industries in this country employing thousands of people. Of course, I'm most proud of the fact that we have not only delivered the Liberal Democrat flagship policy of raising the point at which you pay income tax as of next month to £10,000 - that's a £700 tax cut to millions of taxpayers - we're now over-delivering on that manifesto commitment by lifting the tax allowance to £10,500, and that's worth an £800 tax cut in total to over 24 million people.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage

No recession lasts for ever, you know. You have four or five years of downward figures, and inevitably after that you get a period of up, and that's what we're going through. I don't think that this government has unleashed the full potential of British business. We will finish up at the end of the five years of this coalition government with our national debt having risen by 40%, and that must mean the original objective of the coalition has failed.

Scotland's Finance Secretary and SNP MSP John Swinney

This was Westminster's last chance to show it could create opportunity for Scotland and reject the diet of austerity. Once again Westminster has failed to deliver for Scotland. This Budget confirms a further squeeze on public spending and a further austerity plan. The £63m added to the Scottish budget today is small beer compared to the significant cuts Scotland has faced since 2010. The chancellor is planning a further £37bn of cuts across the UK over the next two years and tens of billions to come afterwards. These cuts would be worse still if Scotland does not vote for independence and Westminster takes the knife to the Barnett formula. While I welcome the chancellor's choice of whisky as his referendum tipple, sticking with the Westminster system will leave Scotland with a severe hangover.

Plaid Cymru's Westminster leader Elfyn Llwyd

All in all, I am disappointed in that there doesn't seem, to me anyway, to be much cheer amongst the small and medium enterprise sector, and for us in Wales. That's 90% of the whole employment of Wales. There doesn't seem to be any alleviation for them, it seems to me - anything other than we already knew.

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett

This was not a budget for a resilient economy but for a fantasy economy that exists only in Mr Osborne's head. It does nothing to address the need to transform the British economy for a low-carbon future that ensures everyone has access to a decent quality of life.

Office for Budget Responsibility chairman Robert Chote

Consumer spending remains the driver of the pick-up in growth that we saw last year. We've also seen more tentative evidence that business investment is starting to pick up, and that is the main reason why we've edged up our growth forecast for this year and next. If you look at what was happening last year, consumer spending was being financed primarily by people running down their savings rather than by growth in incomes. We don't think savings are going to be drawn down at quite the pace they were last year. Over the longer term... hopefully, the long-awaited improvement in productivity growth - that's the amount of goods and services we get out of every individual in the economy - will start to pick up. That's the route to a sustainable recovery in people's real incomes.

Saga's Paul Green

There are a number of announcements in today's budget that will be music to the ears of the over-50s. Many older savers want to be able to save the whole ISA allowance in cash, and the reduced tax on savings income will be a huge boost to those who have saved and done the right thing. Trusting people with their money must be the right approach, but with greater longevity the biggest challenge is to make people's savings last a lifetime. Those saving for retirement and the financial services industry need to step up to the challenge to enable savers to achieve their retirement dreams.

Home Builders Federation chairman Stewart Baseley

All the indicators show a significant increase in house building in recent months. The measures announced today, in particular the extension of the Help to Buy equity loan scheme, will enable the industry to increase output in a sustained manner.

Commercial property firm JLL's Jeff Field

Plans for a new generation of garden cities across the country is a bold move but it will take some considerable time to deliver and not everyone will want to live in such communities. With house price inflation and rising rents in London, the government needs to provide other pressure valves. It should send out a clear policy message in the South East that it is serious about delivering on new housing.

Macmillan Cancer Support's Ciarán Devane

The current welfare system provides thousands of cancer patients with a financial lifeline at a time when they need it most. Spending should not be determined in any other way than offering support to those who need it, when they need it. The government must clarify how it will ensure the cap on welfare spending does not negatively impact people with cancer.

Mark Beatson, of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

We will not get sustained productivity growth without more investment by business, so we welcome the chancellor's decision to extend the Annual Investment Allowance and double it from £250,000 to £500,000 - a measure that should give investment a kick-start.

CBI director-general John Cridland

The Budget will put wind in the sails of business investment, especially for manufacturers. This was a make-or-break budget, coming at a critical time in the recovery, and the chancellor has focused his firepower on areas that have the potential to lock in growth.

Age UK's Anne-Marie Doohan

Our rigid pensions system has become increasingly out of step with the reality of contemporary working lives so we hope that the more flexible approach announced today will revitalise pension saving, giving younger age groups more hope of future security in retirement.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady

This was a pre-election Budget, with its giveaways aimed at the better off rather than lifting the living standards of the many.

It will be paid for by further years of austerity, public services brought to near collapse, public-sector pay cuts and a welfare cap that bites into the safety net that any of us might need.

Institute of Economic Affairs director Mark Littlewood

This Budget was a missed opportunity to tackle the inequity of millions of earners being dragged into the 40p rate. Under George Osborne, nearly 1.5 million more taxpayers are paying this rate. This is an attack on aspiration and entrepreneurship. Whilst the increase in the personal allowance is a welcome move, it should not have come at the expense of tax cuts in other areas.