In advance of today's Budget, ConservativeHome assembled an expert panel of political figures and commentators to outline what they hope to see from today's Budget in their area of interest or expertise. Their thoughts are below and once Alistair Darling has delivered the Budget, we will post their reactions here on Platform later this afternoon.
The Budget should be realistic about the growth situation - planning against a recession at least as bad as the early 1980s and a material fall in the sustainable growth rate of the economy (to perhaps just 2-2.25%), cutting our spending cloth accordingly. The Government should admit that on a recession that bad its previous plans would take spending above 50% of GDP, and that this is unacceptable.
To keep down the growth of spending as a proportion of GDP, it should immediately announce a £50bn reduction in growth in spending between 2008-9 to 2010-11 (e.g., by freezing the cash budget of most departments), with a commitment to seek further reductions of up to £50bn, if necessary, for later years.
In addition, the annual inflation targeting regime should be replaced with a target of average inflation at 3% annually between now and 2015 - with the inflation measure changed to include housing costs.