Today's Budget Must Be One That Delivers Prosperity and Social Justice; Western Mail
TODAY'S Budget will be one of the most tightly watched in years because Chancellor George Osborne's announcements have the potential to shape the direction of Britain.
If he accelerates moves to introduce regional pay there will be howls of protest - motivated by genuine concern - that poorer areas of the country will see even less money flowing into local economies.
While there are legitimate arguments to be had about the impact of the pay gap between the public and private sector, widespread cuts in the wages of government employees would see average salaries in Wales sink further.
At a time when there is scant sign that Wales has left behind the pain of the recession it would be bad news for traders across the nation if Welsh shoppers are left with even less money in their pockets.
There will be little excitement in Wales about a cut in the 50p tax rate, largely because this is home to very few people in this earning bracket.
Likewise, workers who already suffer job insecurity will have further reason to worry if it becomes easier for businesses to shed staff. This anxiety would rattle consumer confidence and lead to even lower spending.
Research by the Principality Building Society yesterday demonstrated that people in Wales believe that efforts to boost employment prospects should be the Chancellor's top priority, and many economists will argue that if it is easier to let staff go then employers will be more willing to take new people on. …