BUDGET 2000: Pragmatic politics squeezes out sound economics

Claims that the Budget was overly founded on political issues instead of economic ones were reiterated in speeches at Deloitte & Touche’s post-Budget breakfast this morning.

‘Politically the Budget was extremely clever,’ said Roger Bootle, economic advisor to Deloitte & Touche. ‘It should have been much tighter fiscally. There were too many figures hanging in the air.’

The hazy light hanging over London this morning typified the state of Deloitte’s invitees, who were still digesting the chancellor’s Budget when breakfast was served.

While the Budget has on the whole received positive responses, economists have warned that its structure was over-manipulated by external forces.

‘The pressures of the next election and the short-term political difficulties that the government is in with its core supporters are written all over this Budget,’ said Bootle, one of the City of London’s most well known economists.

But, the leading economist said the chancellor’s growth estimates were erring a little on the cautious side. The forecast for growth was revised up by 0.25% to between 2.75% and 3.25%.

According to the Treasury, there are no signs that inflation will rise. But, if the economy does take a downward turn, then the chancellor’s ‘prudent’ measures will become redundant.

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