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Is Osborne the right man for the job?
GEORGE Osborne is fortunate that he doesn't work for the trigger happy bosses of Blackburn Rovers who this week sacked their third manager of the season.
The fried chicken magnates who own Rovers operate the kind of ruthless hire and fire approach you'd expect to see in a fast food joint.
David Cameron, however, seems more than content to let his hapless friend George blunder on amid a desperate string of results.
The Chancellor teed up his budget speech with the bombshell news that the growth forecast for this year was being halved from the 1.2 per cent predicted in December. The Office for Budget Responsibility has cut its growth forecasts repeatedly since it was established in 2010, when it was expecting 2.8 per cent growth for 2013. Mr Osborne has also failed to reduce the amount the government borrowed this year.
Being top man at the Treasury is a results based business and Mr Osborne is failing miserably.
His budget failed to tackle the big problems.
Corporation tax will be cut to 20 per cent to make Britain a more appealing prospect for foreign investors, he told the House of Commons. It had a hollow ring coming a day after 200 workers at RFMD in Newton Aycliffe were told the US electronics firm was shutting up shop and concentrating operations in North Carolina.
Mr Osborne found some extra cash by squeezing public spending but that means there will be more cuts to services in the North-East. The age of austerity shows no signs of ending. With few signs that we are heading towards growth has all of the pain been worth it?
Labour said it was a more of the same from a downgraded Chancellor.
The region's business leaders were also underwhelmed.
"Every time he steps up to the dispatch box things in the economy seem to have got worse," Ian Malcolm, the boss of Redcar-based car parts firm ElringKlinger (GB) told me after the Chancellor unveiled a series of measures that tinkered around the edges. "He just doesn't look like a man who knows what he's doing. There really isn't anything here that inspired me to think this government knows what needs to be done to stimulate growth and that is very worrying," Mr Malcolm added.
James Ramsbotham, chief of the North East Chamber of Commerce reckoned the Government had "fallen short of providing the raft of measures that businesses and investors need in order to kick-start growth."
Mr Osborne admitted it was taking longer than expected but he insisted he was slowly but surely, fixing our country's economic problems.
But as results continue to slide he looks less like the right man for the job.
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