Lunch time Budget on the cards

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Reports suggest he could deliver his crucial speech – expected in the last two weeks of March – at 12:30pm, about three hours earlier than the traditional time of 3:30pm.

Since the adoption of new working hours in the House of Commons, the principle has been followed that all ministerial statements are delivered at 12:30pm.

The final decision of when the Budget is delivered will be made by Robin Cook, leader of the Commons.

However, an earlier Budget speech would give analysts and newspapers more time to pick through the Budget carefully, allowing them to spot and report measures that might previously been buried under a mountain of paperwork.

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