Magazine article Public Finance

Turning Up the Noise

Magazine article Public Finance

Turning Up the Noise

Article excerpt

The 'emergency Budget' is almost upon us. It's going to be a game of two halves. On the one hand, with the Office for Budget Responsibility acting as fiscal referee, there's Cameron's promise of pain, and yet more pain - the unavoidable penalty for all those foul-ups under the old management.

On the other, there's the more nuanced commentary from Cl egg, who has displayed some fancy footwork about 'progressive cuts' sparing the most vulnerable.

The picture has been further complicated by the mixed messages from OBR chair Sir Alan Budd, who this week forecast slower growth - but also lower borrowing - than anticipated.

On a number of public accounts indicators, the independent watchdog found the previous incumbents didn't look half bad. So not entirely an own goal then for Osborne, but not exactly an emergency either.

Undeterred, the chancellor sought to redeem himself by pronouncingthe situation 'worse than we thought' - and ploughing ahead with his draconian cuts package for June 22.

Like the insistent drone of the vuvuzelas, the mantra of austerity now appears unturnoffable. And as 20% budget cuts begin to hit home, that drone will turn into a wail.

So are government departments match ready? Not very, judging from the announcements dribbling out of Whitehall. …

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