The first purely Conservative budget in 19 years will be put to the House of Commons by George Osborne today, although the Chancellor has been busily scuttling round television studios announcing policies for around a week, and letting others in his cabinet share some of the glory.
Having been elected with an outright majority in May’s General Election, the Tories are sticking to the line that the budget will merely be an extension of their manifesto, which means a whopping £30bn in public spending cuts over the next two to three years, £12bn of which is pledged to come from welfare.
This sets the budget’s direction of travel in an austere direction, while not necessarily meaning Osborne will say 2/1 shot ‘Austerity’ as the wallpaper baron probably doesn’t believe that’s what this is, certainly relative to ‘Greece’, for example, which is the most nailed-on utterance in Ladbrokes’ Buzzword Bingo history at 1/100.
A 2/1 bet that seems much more likely to cop is ‘Hard Choices’ considering the policies already announced, which include cutting housing benefit for 18 to 21-year-olds, an ever decreasing welfare cap and, bizarrely, handing Aunty Beeb the responsibility for furnishing over 75s with free TV licences.
‘BBC’ is a 1/10 shot, understandably seeing as Culture Secretary John Whittingdale trailed the new deal for the national broadcaster earlier this week, and while shifting government policy over to one of the Tories’ historic enemies has been widely criticised by baffled commentators and ex-telly chiefs, it seems to have been accepted without fuss.
Intriguingly, politicians’ incestuous, love/hate relationship with the BBC leads us to another fine bet, as Osborne rehashed the old Coalition line ‘We’re All In This Together’ on ‘The Andrew Marr Show’ over the weekend. That looks stuck on for another appearance at 6/4.
No doubt Osborne will be tempted to name his former opposite number ‘Ed Balls’ (10/1) for the first time in Parliament, as the convention of referring to MPs as the members for their constituencies is now defunct in this case, after Yvette Cooper’s husband lost his.
However, the 44-year-old’s genial approach to his opponents since the election, with good words for Labour loser Ed Miliband and former Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander in Parliament, suggests he’s at least trying to avoid looking like a bad winner.
Which of the following exact words or phrases will the Chancellor use?
1/3 Long Term Economic Plan
1/3 Living Wage
1/2 The British People
Evs Northern Powerhouse
6/4 We’re All In This Together
2/1 Hard Choices
2/1 Tough Decisions
2/1 Hard Working Families
3/1 To Those Who Say
4/1 Party of the Workers
4/1 Finish The Job
5/1 Striving To Get On
10/1 Ed Balls
10/1 Magic Money Tree
100/1 Greek Flag design
5/6 Over 55 mins
5/6 Under 55 mins
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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