The Budget is a five-year Test match, not a one-day event

The finance minister is holding pre-Budget meetings with specific groups. Invitees proffer dozens of ideas at such meetings, from good to bad and positively zany. Inevitably, therefore, very few of the suggestions aired at such meetings make their way into any Budget. But finance ministers can and do get influenced by the kind of issues that are raised, since they are seen to indicate what people in general are concerned about — whether inflation or the deficit, or economic growth. This time may be no different. The fiscal situation is stressed (when is it not?!), economic growth h.....

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