- 12 Mar 08, 02:38 PM
I was wrong an hour ago, to say the Golden Rule measure of borrowing was looking better than it had been in 2012. Sorry, bit rushed.
Looking at the data, the chancellor is conceding that by 2011, the economy will be 0.5% smaller than he had thought. And he doesn't appear to be thinking that "lost growth" will magically re-appear later.
That is a real concession. It’s says the slowdown is not all a blip.
This all means the Treasury have "lost" revenue and has extra costs, amounting to a five to eight billion a year deterioration in the public finances for each of the next few years. Of that, about 1.9 billion is being raised in new tax rises
But fortunately for the chancellor, the finances would be even worse than they are, but for the fact that inflation is higher than it was meant to be when he last spoke to us. Higher prices bring tax revenues in.
Perhaps the clearest way to see this story, is to look at the changing Treasury view of the year 2010. Compared to the picture in the Pre-Budget Report, the economy is half a per cent smaller, prices are 0.75% higher and the finances are 6.5 billion worse than expected, but taxes go up 2 billion to recoup some of the money lost.
Public spending is the same as before, but with prices higher, that will make the public spending settlement tougher to deliver than it was going to be.
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