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Budget balls should be brought to order

The Budget has been cancelled so we’re not getting a set-piece ‘fiscal event’ this year.

(Hacks across town celebrated. Editors like the budget. The folk who have to do the actual work hate them.)

But a point of order.

Even in the summer, it seemed hopelessly optimistic for anyone to think that there would be an end to the Chancellor’s support schemes this autumn.

So where on earth were all those briefings about possible tax increases – particularly to the Sunday newspapers – coming from?

Paul Johnson of the IFS told Sky News last week that he thought they made little sense at the time and that has proved correct. Unlike the stories.

A theory…this was someone at No 10 trying to deflate the tyres on Rishi Sunak’s speeding car. Perhaps the cancellation of the Budget is an indicator of divisions between the PM and his Chancellor over strategy.

The bigger question…does this presage a wider falling out between No10 and No11 along the lines of Thatcher and Lawson, Blair and Brown and, latterly, Brown and Darling?

A third point: all of those big politics splashes about what Rishi was pondering/planning to do in the budget are now wrong. Because there isn’t a budget. If the City pages wrote knowingly on pending takeover deals and got them that out of whack, we’d be embarrassed.

Flaks should push political reporters for corrections.


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