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Why George might be in need of a stiff drink

Part of Budget day is a slight break with the norm, particularly over beverages. The Chancellor is allowed to deliver his speech while sipping on a drink of his or her choice.

It won't surprise you to learn that George Osborne and his predecessors Gordon Brown and Alastair Darling chose water, much as we do here on the Belfast Telegraph business desk. Things were livelier with previous incumbents. Ken Clarke went for a whiskey, Geoffrey Howe for gin and tonic, Benjamin Disraeli brandy and water and Nigel Lawson a spritzer.

Gladstone comes top for inventiveness, opting for a sherry and beaten egg. As the pressure piles on Mr Osborne we'll be watching whether he plumbs for something a little more adventurous.

Belfast Telegraph