Budget shows how Labour hopes to neutralise Tory attacks
So the deficit for this year is slightly down at £169bn against the forecast. It makes the figure marginally less horrifying. A chunk of the savings from lower than expected unemployment has been used to pay off debt.
The £1bn net extra gain from the bankers’ bonus tax has been put into targeted help for certain sectors. The message is that the government is serious about the economic crisis, but has a way out.
The government is trying to wrestle the mantle of optimism off David Cameron in the belief that he has shot some of his credibility on that with talk of swingeing cuts and an age of austerity.
There’s a political battle going on with the Tories over whether capital allowances are better than tax cuts for businesses … not sure that will actually shift many votes though.
It had seemed as though Gordon Brown has his best luck in the polls, narrowing the Tory lead, at times of great economic uncertainty.
So the trick here today was to convey that you the voters still need the great helmsman in charge but he is calm, the situation is not in crisis mode any more and he knows a way through it all.