Labour Budget 2010
What happened with today's budget? Well, in short not much.
3 months of better than expected income/expenditure have given the chancellor £11bn to play with that he didn't think he had. The shame his he still doesn't have it. All that's happened is instead of running a deficit for the financial year of £178bn (and that was revised up in December from £175bn) it's expected to be in the region of £167bn.
The fact that as late as December the borrowing figure was revised up tells you how entirely incompetent the Treasury is with forecasting.
There's something very strange in the reporting of finance in this supposed recovery. The basic premise being it doesn't matter if you lose money, so long as you're not losing as much as you did last year. The analogy for this is me going to a wholesaler, buying stock for £100 and selling it for £50 in 2008/09 then buying the same stock at the same price the following year and selling it for £90 in 2009/10.
Does that sound good? No, of course not. Yet, that is what we are expected to celebrate. Over the term of the entire next parliament, no party believes they will get us on a balanced budget in any of the financial years.
Heightened personal borrowing kept us out of recession in 1999/2000 when we were last due to enter one. That is less likely to save us in 2017/2018 when the next one is due. That means we'll get one, possibly two years to dig into our huge debt. When I say huge, the Treasury forecast will make it £1,406bn. If we're very lucky we'll get to pay back £50bn on the capital before we're in the annual red again.
If this is the best thing Labour can say about themselves and their performance that'll make us vote for them again then no wonder we're looking at a change of administration.