A garden city for the garden of England: But will it produce real growth?

A garden city for the garden of England: But will the garden grow? Photo: ITV News

A new garden city in Ebbsfleet - currently best known for being a stop on Britain's high-speed channel rail link - might be an attractive proposition for those living in the garden of England.

But why, you might ask, should anyone in the rest of the country care all that much about 15,000 new homes in Kent? And why did George Osborne decide to make it his centrepiece announcement on the eve of Budget week?

Well the answer, possibly, is that - coupled with an extension of his help to buy scheme - it plays into the idea of the Conservatives being the party of aspiration, the party of home-owners.

With the public finances still in dire straits, the Chancellor has warned of more "difficult decisions" to come. So, this is unlikely to be a giveaway budget.

What he's offering is hope. Giving a helping hand to those trying to get on the property ladder may be a good way to win over the voters. Less clear is whether it will be enough to provide the strong growth the economy still needs.

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