Page last updated at 07:01 GMT, Thursday, 25 March 2010

Budget analysis dominates news pages

Papers

The Budget coverage makes it to the front pages of all the papers.

The Financial Times feels the lack of pre-election giveaways will have brought some relief to the markets.

But it feels in the end the chancellor ducked the challenge of explaining how he would cut a record peacetime budget deficit.

"A budget of envy and spite", is the Daily Express verdict which accuses the government of unleashing a savage new tax onslaught against Middle Britain.

'Election-boosting'

"Keep Calm and Carry On" is the headline in the Guardian.

The paper says the chancellor spurned pre-election giveaways and set out to cement recovery from the recession, while placating a jittery City.

The Daily Mirror applauds what it saw as an election-boosting Budget which has got the Tories on the run.

Its headline is "Safe pair of eyebrows" and the paper's Kevin Maguire says Mr Darling "mapped out the choice" between Labour and the Conservatives.

The Times says ideas were stolen from the Tories, namely the stamp duty holiday for first-time home buyers.

In a speech that lasted almost an hour, Mr Darling managed to say almost nothing, the paper says, adding it was a "skilful performance".

'Challenges'

The Daily Telegraph also acknowledges there was little sign of giveaways.

Its front page depicts Alistair Darling as a cartoon burglar carrying a swag bag under the headline: "Tax raid on middle class".

The Sun calls it a "Budget battering" and says the chancellor had put party before country "in a squalid attempt to save Labour votes".

The Daily Mail says a cynical and dishonest chancellor failed to address the real economic challenges.

City editor Alex Brummer writes: "By the standards of other pre-election budgets, it was timid in the extreme."

The Independent's Hamish McRae says the Budget defines the political debate but leaves the economic outlook clouded.



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