Belfast Telegraph

Budget is a real waste

With Gordon Brown yesterday having set March 24 as Budget Day, it's a little late to be offering this advice, but here goes anyway: let's not bother with a Budget this side of the General Election at all.

Technically speaking, there has to be a Finance Act for the Government to maintain its tax-raising powers into the next financial year.

But that's a procedural formality easily resolved and there is no need for the whole show (last year's Budget was unveiled almost three weeks after the current financial year began).

What we will inevitably get in a fortnight's time is an utterly politicised statement in which almost no one will have any faith.

The markets believe that whoever wins the election, some form of emergency Budget shortly afterwards is a certainty, and surely even the most naive of voters no longer falls for pre-ballot giveaways (if only there were any room for this sort of generosity).

Much better to have a short Bill implementing the tax changes outlined in December's pre-Budget report.

Enough paper is about to be wasted on all that election literature without adding to the dead tree count with a massive Budget presentation that everyone knows will be out of date within a couple of months.

Belfast Telegraph