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“Devil in the detail.” Ok, where?

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"Devil in the detail." Ok, where?

It is Budget Day tomorrow and financial hacks are getting twitchy.

In theory, this is our big day, a chance to show the rest of the paper just how useful we are.

In practice, it seldom turns out that way. The big stuff has been pre-announced, much of the rest gets swept up by the news desk, and what is left is largely politics.

The Chancellor taking pot-shots at his rivals, the opposition swiping back.

It is also one of those days when the PR trade doesn’t do itself justice/any favours.

My inbox tells me that an amusingly high number of firms are inviting hacks to discuss things other than the Budget. Not because they want the topic buried, but because they genuinely haven’t realised what is going on. It’s a bad look.

What we will mostly get served up tomorrow will be a thousand comments from talking heads, the boss of the trade body for widgets.

He will offer vague platitudes about the most obvious news, and a string of clichés that will almost certainly include the phrase “the devil is in the detail”.

Exactly, we might shout. Tell us about it.

Once the Chancellor sits down, hacks and the accountants we have employed for the day pour through that detail looking for the thing the government tried to bury.

It might be an innocuous looking change in policy or an increase in a little understood tax. But one which has a bigger impact than almost anyone knows.

So the clever bit, the really helpful input, is the flak who says, my client reckons that little thing on page 245, paragraph 17, is going to cost his industry, or his business, tens of millions of pounds. It is directly opposite stated government policy.

That kind of thing. This isn’t easy. But I’m afraid, with the easy stuff, you are mostly wasting your time. We’ve done that bit.

Press release of the day

Most of the stuff around today on new nuclear reactors has been positive – we need them, seems to be the consensus.

Punchy stuff here from Greenpeace arguing otherwise.

“The funding model that EDF has been lobbying hard for to pay for their expensive nuclear power plants has already been tested in the USA. The results were disastrous. It transfers huge financial risk from the builders to bill payers,” is the money quote.


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