TODAY IS D-Day for struggling households and businesses in Hampshire as the Chancellor of the Exchequer spells out the most crucial budget since the Second World War.

Businesses and politicians in Hampshire will be on tenterhooks as George Osborne opens his big red box to reveal plans to dig the country out of its financial hole and reignite the clapped out economy.

The UK is teetering on the brink of a triple-dip recession and the country’s once-cherished AAA credit rating has been lost.

Hundreds of jobs have already been shed from the county’s economy in the past year alone at big name companies such as B&Q British Gas, Skandia, Zurich and Ford.


Budget Day live: Follow the Budget as it happens with reaction here at


Some 230 jobs have been axed at beleaguered Southampton City Council this year as it cuts key services to plug a £16m black hole that opened up thanks to massive Government cuts.

Southampton City Council leader Richard Williams said Mr Osborne’s budget would impact on jobs and services and the quality of life across Hampshire.

He said: “A lot of people are unemployed and we are seeing high street chains struggling with some going into administration and there will be the loss of Ford this summer. There is a lot of risk in the economy and it is not really picking up.

“We need sensible investment. We have got to create apprenticeships and construction is really important. We need investment in infrastructure. But I can’t say I am overly optimistic.”

Tony Knight, of the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce Tax Finance and Legal Committee, said: “My view is that the economy is on the cusp – it could quite easily move forward but could also be derailed by external influences especially those from the Eurozone.”


Budget Day live: Follow the Budget as it happens with reaction here at


He said he hoped today would see measures unveiled that helps lift the economy from its vulnerable position.

“I have long believed that any Chancellor has the means to stimulate the economy by removing stamp duty on properties up to £500,000.

“If necessary, the so called mansion tax could be introduced at increased rates over £1milion,” he said.