The mud of corruption seems to be sticking to Blair, and half of the country want him to go within a
year – Gordon Brown‘s tenth budget (inc. 1997) on Wednesday is looking even more likely to be his last.

The Financial Times thinks:

"Gordon Brown will launch a
concerted attempt to boost London’s standing as a global financial
centre, conceding the government must do more to promote one of the
pillars of the British economy. Mr Brown’s focus on the City will be at the heart of the Budget’s
broader theme to market the strength of the British economy

Could Inheritance Tax (IHT) reform be on the cards? It could be a very popular move – last night a BBC News poll showed that a majority of the population would like to see it scrapped, even if it meant paying higher Income Tax.

John Whiting of PriceWaterhouseCoopers reckons on a continuation of fiscal drag, a boost to Child Trust Funds, promotion of ‘green’ cars, and a repeat of council tax relief for pensioners.

Whatever the content of his speech, Rachel Sylvester thinks it will be uncomfortable for the muddy one:

"Mr Blair will need more than a bowl of Lady Levy’s
chicken soup (the medicine he sends for when he has a bout of the flu)
to perk him up. And to make matters worse, tomorrow he will have to sit
through Gordon Brown’s Master of the Universe performance on Budget
Day. Mr
Blair is, I gather, personally convinced that the Chancellor’s finger
was on the button that launched Jack Dromey’s missile last week."

Whether that last bit is true or not, it will be very interesting to see how this budget plays with Labour’s internal politics.

Deputy Editor

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