Every little helps
The chancellor has no money to spend in his Budget but he'll find a little from tax avoidance and taxing private jets to try to ease the squeeze on people's incomes.
I understand that he will increase the personal tax allowance again in order to give 25 million tax payers an income tax cut of around £45 - after inflation - per year.
The amount of income anyone can earn before paying tax will be increased by around £600 from April 2012 but, unlike last year, taxpayers on both the 20% and 40% tax rates will benefit - ie anyone earning up to £115,000 per year.
The coalition is committed to increasing the personal tax allowance to £10,000 by the end of its time in office. In last year's Budget the chancellor announced an increase in the tax free allowance of £1,000 from April 2011 but said that all higher rate taxpayers would not benefit.
Treasury sources claim that taken together these two changes will amount to a £200/year tax cut by 2012 after taking account of inflation.
This is, of course, budgetary loose change and relatively dwarfed by VAT rises and tax credit cuts. What he does on fuel duty will matter most to most people.
Long term, however, it will be the extent to which he embraces tax reform - sweeping away tax reliefs and merging income tax and national insurance - which will define him and this Budget.