Jonathan Oliver and David Smith report that Alistair Darling may use this week's Budget to beef up the planned supertax on higher earners:

"Last year the Chancellor announced the introduction in 2011 of a 45% top rate of income tax for people earning more than £150,000. Darling has come under pressure from Labour colleagues to reduce this new top-rate threshold to £100,000 – a move that would lead to higher tax bills for 500,000 high earners."

Opponents of George Osborne's acquiescence on the current 45p plan feared that this would happen.  We shall know more on Wednesday.

Last year's surge in the polls towards the Tories followed Darling's Budget of green tax rises.  If the advance speculation is right and Darling plans to 'greenwash' tax rises we might see a hardening of this weekend's large Tory leads.

OsborneOnAM Interviewed on Andrew Marr's Sunday show earlier today Mr Osborne said that it wasn't sensible for him to set out his plans to close Labour's economic hole until the true size of the hole was clearer.  A year ago he was being asked to fill a £40bn deficit, he said.  More recently the talk was of a £110bn deficit.  Now there's even the possibility that the deficit will be £180bn.  The Shadow Chancellor said one thing is absolutely true: If spending cuts are necessary they will be "Labour cuts" and if tax rises are necessary they will be "Labour tax rises" – all necessary to deal with "Labour's budget deficit".  

During the interview he declined to toughen his rhetoric on public spending.  Talking of "restraint" rather than reductions.

Writing in The Sunday Times Mr Osborne did use a very good turn of phrase to explain why taxes should be a last resort for dealing with the debt crisis: "We should not be overtaxed because Labour has overspent."  ConHome – with our new Star Chamber – has today launched a search for spending cuts.

Tim Montgomerie

> Iain Dale thought George Osborne's Sunday AM interview was "probably his best ever interview".  Iain focuses on the revelation that Gordon Brown did not write one of his letters of regret to George Osborne's wife, Frances.  Mrs Osborne being a victim of McBride's smear operation.

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