Darling fixes Budget date for 12 March

The Budget for 2008 will be delivered to the House by Alistair Darling on
Wednesday 12 March, the chancellor announced on Thursday.

Darling faces a difficult balancing act. The economy is slowing and various
think tanks believe that government debt is climbing and tax revenues are set to

The Institute of Fiscal Studies believes Darling will have to raise an
additional £8bn in taxes to balance the government books.

‘The Chancellor should be tightening policy to stay within the fiscal rules;
but tax increases or public spending cuts would reinforce the economic slowdown
expected this year. Cutting taxes looks dangerous on public finance grounds but
raising them carries economic risks,’ KPMG’s chief economist Andrew Smith said.

The Budget will also see the the chancellor provide an update on the Poynter
Review into the lost discs crisis at HM Revenue & Customs. Further details
on the foreign profits consultation are also expected.

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