As a frame of reference, here are my broad brush predictions for the Budget later today. Some things I am pretty sure about, some I am certain about because they’ve been briefed and others are guesses, hopefully educated guesses.
- Fiscal mandate. George Osborne will commit the new government to eliminate the current structural deficit by the end of the Parliament (2014-15). He will also commit to the burden of public sector debt falling year-on-year by the same point.
- Growth. The Office for Budget Responsibility will cut the growth forecasts it released last week for 2011 and 2012 but raise them later in the Parliament, leaving the level of output in 2014-15 very close to that in last week’s announcement. The assumed medium-term Keynesian multiplier will be zero or negative.
- Public finances. Britain’s deficit will be scheduled to fall below 3 per cent of GDP in 2014-15 and will be close in 2013-14.
- Fiscal consolidation. There are