Chancellor Darling's debut budget set for March 12th

31-01-2008

Chancellor Darling's debut budget set for March 12th
Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling's first budget will take place on Wednesday March 12th.

It will be the first budget for Mr Darling, and the Brown government, since he took up the post in June 2007.

However, since becoming chancellor, he has not been a stranger to the dispatch box – making a series of emergency statements covering Northern Rock, changes to capital gains tax and HM Revenue & Customs loss of 25 million people's data.

In contrast Mr Brown did not visit the dispatch box to make any statements outside of those for the Budget and pre-Budget report during his decade in the office.

As well as giving Mr Darling the chance to lay out his plans for tax and spending, the budget will also be read with an eye to a possible election in spring 2009.

However, Mr Darling will not be able to tax cut his way into popularity, according to a new report.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies' (IFS) 'Green Budget' – produced with Morgan Stanley – finds the chancellor must raise taxes by £8 billion to reduce public sector debt to below the government's self-imposed limits.

However, IFS points out such tax hikes are unlikely.

It states: "Not least because of the government’s current political difficulties, we do not expect to see a significant fiscal tightening in this year’s Budget.

"The government is likely to argue that further bad news on the public finances will only be temporary and that fiscal policy should support monetary policy as the economy slows this year."

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