Nick Wood square Nick Wood is a former press secretary to Conservative leaders William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith who is now Chief Executive of Media Intelligence Partners. Click here to read his Budget preview.

Predictably enough it turned out to be a micro Budget. The Chancellor has little room for manoeuvre as he ploughs ahead with the Herculean task of eliminating the deficit over the next four years.

So he had to restrict himself to worthy micro-measures to boost growth, employment and jobs. He also took widely forecast steps to ease the pain of the soaring price of petrol. And chucked in a small cut in income tax. A dose of sensible business economics and populism, against the background of disappointing growth projections.

As Labour leader Ed Miliband was quick to highlight, the Government is downgrading its growth forecasts, as recovery proves more intractable than expected.

Osborne knows there is no quick fix to Labour's economic mismanagement. And for all kinds of reasons, the Coalition Government will not make the case for a genuinely small state, low tax, low spend approach to the economy. Talk of sharing the proceeds of growth may be long gone. But the memory lingers on.

Meanwhile, the politics look grim for the Government. 2011/12 will be a year of mounting economic pain and – for the Lib Dems especially – a pounding in the May local elections.

Cameron and Osborne are braced to ride the storm. Let's hope their party are ready to follow them.