Boycott the budget

Tomorrow's Business

I’ve a plan for us all, one that would finally unite financial hacks and financial flaks in one happy tent of love and respect.

We’d get an extra two days off a year, or at least finish much earlier, and skip happily home. Perhaps we’d meet for a celebratory glass on the way (you can still pay, let’s keep it real).

The plan is this: Let’s boycott the budget. Let’s admit that they are almost entirely political affairs into which business and economics folk strain to find significance that doesn’t exist.

Maybe there was a time in the distant past when budgets meant something; now they are news events. Without any news. The main developments will have been leaked. After that, you’re into tweaks and windy interpretations.

One analysis today of the latest budget has the poorest families £30 a year worse off. That’s 58p a week. Even they won’t notice. The richest are £410 a year better off. Less than £8 a week. Same result.

Where they have meaning, if it all, is as political set pieces. They play into that endless obsession of political reporters as to who is up and who is down. Who’s in favour and who is not.

As economics and business affairs, they are bunk. Let’s start saying so. And leave the making up news stuff to the politics desk. They are more practised at it.



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