This is a political Budget first and foremost, so it makes sense to partly judge it against the Tory’s main economic positions.
1) Prudence, giveaways and the Tory marriage tax break Osborne may want to let rip at any of Darling’s fiscal bungs. But he will be constrained. The Tories need to outline plans to recognise marriage in the tax system. But how can you criticise diverting some savings to a tax break if you’re about to do the same?
2) The structural deficit The Tories want to get rid of more of it faster than Labour. But no specifics yet. As Labour plan to remove two thirds of it already, any change in the forecast may close down Osborne’s room for manoeuvre.
3) Tax break spoilers Will Darling nab the Tory proposal to cut stamp duty? Will it pose a problem for Osborne? Or will it be a relief, allowing him to divert money he had pencilled from non-doms to other tax wheezes?
4) Savings spoilers Will Darling nick Tory examples of how to cut spending? ID cards? Databases? Pensions? Could be a challenge to Osborne to prove his mettle as a fiscal hawk.
5) Capital allowances The Tories want to reduce corporation tax by removing some allowances for businesses. Will Darling make their job harder by making the allowances more generous?
6) Job programmes There will be up to £500m spent on job creation schemes to tackle youth unemployment. Will the Tories back it? This Labour attack has had limited political traction to date.