Budget date is ‘media management’

Link: Budget date announced

Brown announced the date in reply to a written statement in the Commons without giving a reason for the delay.

Shadow Liberal Democrat chancellor Matthew Taylor protested: ‘This appears to be about the media management of the Budget in relation to a war in Iraq that hasn’t even been agreed or started.’

He said he was demanding a full explanation and an assessment of the extra costs to business caused by the hold-up.

Taylor said the decision means extra expense and bureaucracy for business having to recalculate tax codes and backdate Budget measures – and may require special parliamentary measures to allow the collection of annual taxes like income tax and corporation tax to continue.

It is expected that for the first time it will be delivered during the business day – at 12.30 immediately after prime minister’s questions – following the re-timing of the Commons agenda to make MPs’ hours more family friendly and enable them to finish controversial business in plenty of time for early evening television newscasts.

Earlier Shadow Tory Treasury minister Howard Flight said Brown had no need to wait for the war because it would be financed from the Contingencies Fund, not a Budget allocation.

A Treasury spokeswoman said April Budgets were the norm before the mid 1980s.

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