The Times reports it will be the latest Budget since 1997 and that while officially the reason for the shift is that the Pre-Budget Report was chock-full of significant tax announcements, “the real reason is that Mr Darling is buying himself time first to see what happens at the G20 world economic summit in London on April 2 and secondly to see what impact his PBR stimulus is having”.
Darling’s November PBR contained corporation tax savings and extensive measures to improve access to credit, which have since been expanded upon.
The move has upset Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable. He says: “Alistair Darling is like a schoolboy struggling to get his homework in on time. Simply moving the deadline will not stop the government having to finally make an honest assessment of the recession. “Different government ministers are giving radically different assessments of the state of the economy. We need clear and consistent leadership, based on a sensible appraisal of the economic situation.
“With many of the predictions and assumptions made in the PBR now completely irrelevant, Alistair Darling obviously needs a lot of time to try to get his sums right this time.”