The UK doesn’t need a Budget statement this week. Chancellor George Osborne should cancel his annual set-piece. Britain has barely begun on the path of fiscal consolidation, and there’s an awful long way to go. With political strife brewing, and intra-coalition tensions rising, the danger that Osborne and his team do damage on Wednesday is probably greater than their chances of doing some good.
The pre-budget chatter is that the UK’s public finance are “better than expected”. This has led to suggestions there is “room for a measured giveaway”, if the Chancellor can summon the “political will”. Such analysis might be described as “wishful thinking”. More accurately, it should be labeled “irresponsible nonsense”. That such a notion has even been entertained by our political classes, and gained any kind of currency at all, speaks volumes of the UK’s low level of economic literacy and the lurid nature of what passes for “debate”.