Iraq crisis will delay the Budget
Chancellor Gordon Brown wants to postpone his Budget in the hope the pending Iraq war is over before he has to deliver it.
A war that starts soon and lasts only a few days would be good for business and consumer confidence and allow Brown to picture a positive economic outlook.
However, the delay will not drag on indefinitely. Treasury officials said Brown would in any case deliver the budget before 5 April to enable tax raises or cuts in the new financial year, the Financial Times reported.
Last year, the chancellor announced his Budget mid-April and the Treasury found tax changes were difficult to implement. Its main change, the 1% increase in national insurance had to be postponed until the following tax year.