A BUDGET is a pretty big thing – even my briefing bullet points comes to a weighty six sides of A4. So it is not easy to condense it all into just 400 words!

This is the “end of austerity” budget, marking the end of the incredibly hard work we have all had to do to sort out the chronic state of the public finances in 2010. It has been incredibly tough and, frankly, we deserve a break. But is the government delivering?

Helping the position is that the government has met its borrowing targets three years early, allowing the positive changes that we are seeing. There are a few areas that I think are particularly noteworthy.

First is the NHS. It is to receive an extra £20.5 billion every year by 2023, fully funded from existing resources. This is important as many people write to me saying they would happily pay an extra one penny on income tax for the NHS. It’s worth noting that every 1p extra raises around £5 billion in revenue, so this is the equivalent of 4p on income tax that the government has found elsewhere.

Second is the commitment to the high streets. The reality is that we are all responsible for the decline in the high street. The internet has changed everything and whilst there are still those who do not use Amazon, the trend is embedded. The government recognises that change is inevitable and businesses need help. There is to be a 2-year cut to business rates, by a third, to allow businesses to look at new ways to use their premises. It’s not the answer, but it is a help.

But the government recognises that the digital economy must pay its fair share and so it levying a 25 digital services tax from 2020 on large social media platforms. This is incredibly complex, and has issues with well-established international treaties, but it is a step in the right direction.

The third issue is one I am a little disappointed in. I was hoping for more help to local authorities and whilst there is an extra £1 billion, our local councils still have huge expectations on them and they will continue to struggle.

No budget is perfect, but it must be fair. I am pleased with the earlier than promised income tax breaks It is budget that meets the test of treating everyone equally.