Page last updated at 18:16 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

In quotes: Budget 2010 reaction

CHANCELLOR ALISTAIR DARLING

The choice before the country now is whether to support those whose policies would suffocate our recovery... or to support a government that has been right about the recession, right about the recovery, right about supporting people and businesses in this country.

CONSERVATIVE LEADER DAVID CAMERON

Today, this chancellor had his last chance to do the right thing for the country. He totally failed. The taxis for hire are on their way out. They are carrying on spending and failing and I have to say, the biggest risk to our recovery is five more years of this prime minister.

LIBERAL DEMOCRAT LEADER NICK CLEGG

This Budget was a Budget in denial about the scale of change needed. It's built on growth figures that are unlikely to ever materialise. It's built on false comfort on a small drop in borrowing that doesn't affect the structural deficit.

ANGUS ROBERTSON MP, SNP

If there's a balanced Parliament, we will do everything that we can to make sure that we don't have this kind of silly decision making at Westminster. Let's cut something sensible like a hundred billion pounds of Trident that nobody wants.

ELFYN LLWYD, PLAID CYMRU

Mr Darling's figures are always optimistic, he is always hoping that something will come around the corner to save him.

LORD PEARSON, UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY

If we want to do anything to repair our public finances - and that is perhaps what the Budget is supposed to be about - perhaps we should consider the £16 billion in cash we send every year to Brussels.

CAROLINE LUCAS, GREEN PARTY

I think it's a bit of a wasted opportunity to seriously put fairness at the heart of the agenda. Labour likes to say that that's what it's about and yet after 13 years of a Labour government we have a country that is more unequal than it was when they came to power.

DEREK SIMPSON, UNITE

The last Budget before the election shows leadership and responsibility during difficult times. Alistair Darling has focused on support for the young, growth, investment and jobs when Tory doom-mongers would rather slash and burn our public services and leave working families to sink or swim.

GEOFF DUNNING, ROAD HAULAGE ASSOCIATION

We are still paying the highest level of duty in Europe, we are still facing harsh competition from our European counterparts who contribute nothing to operate on UK roads, and for many operators there is still the prospect of imminent bankruptcy.

MICHELLE MITCHELL, AGE CONCERN

Freezing the inheritance tax threshold to pay for older people's care adds up to a funding increase of £110 million by 2012/13 - a drop in the ocean compared to the £1.75 billion needed over the next two years to plug the social care funding gap.

RICHARD LAMBERT, CBI DIRECTOR GENERAL

With the election just weeks away, this was a clever, political Budget. However, anxiety remains on how the deficit is going to be paid down, and the growth forecasts for 2011 and beyond are still on the optimistic side.

DAVID FROST, BRITISH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE

After two years of economic downturn, the chancellor has clearly recognised the need to place business at the heart of this Budget. Doubling the annual investment allowance, help with business rates, and allowing entrepreneurs to keep more of their gains will prove especially popular.

JONATHAN BAUME, FIRST DIVISION ASSOCIATION

There has been no consultation with the unions and staff on the government's plan to relocate 15,000 staff outside of London. It is hard to see how this can be carried out given the reluctance of civil servants at all levels to leave London.

ANDY ATKINS, FRIENDS OF THE EARTH

This [green investment] bank will provide crucial funds for major green developments, such as off-shore wind projects. We must do much more to build a low carbon economy - but today's announcement is a massive stride in the right direction.

JOHN SAUVEN, GREENPEACE

This [green investment] bank can provide the jolt that brings Britain's economy back to life, but only if it's here to stay. It will need a similar injection of public funding every year if we're to see the scale of private investment required to transform our energy system.

WES STREETING, NATIONAL UNION OF STUDENTS

The creation of additional student numbers for science, technology and maths will help to ensure that many students with the ability and aspiration to benefit from higher education will not be left out in the cold this autumn.

STUART ETHERINGTON, NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS

Voluntary organisations play a crucial role in directly supporting vulnerable groups. This is why it is essential that all charities are able to access the financial support packages provided for small businesses so that they can play their full part.

DAVID ORR, NATIONAL HOUSING FEDERATION

The government is right to put an obligation on banks to provide free basic accounts to every UK citizen. However, it must ensure these accounts meet the needs of low income families, rather than the needs of the banks.

DOUGLAS HAMILTON, SAVE THE CHILDREN

This was a last-chance budget to halve child poverty - and Darling failed to deliver. He had £11 billion more than he thought he had - for less than half that, he could have met the government's own promise to halve child poverty by the end of 2010.

JOHN HILARY, WAR ON WANT

Darling's refusal to introduce a financial transactions tax is a slap in the face for the British people who bailed out the banks. It is also a direct insult to the millions of people in developing countries who have been ignored by today's budget.



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