Now here is a rather unfortunate statistical quirk facing the chancellor.
If you cut social security payments by 10 per cent, for instance, they found the poorest areas were hit hardest. Household disposable income fell by 3.6 per cent in Merseyside and only 2.1 per cent in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.
George Osborne may be a bit more worried by the second test they ran, which showed the regional distribution of cutting a fifth of spending in sectors dominated by the public sector (public administration, education and defence).
Again, the poorest areas suffered most, with the local economy of West Wales taking a 3.3 per cent hit.
Now which area was least affected? You guessed it: Cheshire. The well-to-do home of Osborne’s constituency only saw a 1.5 per cent dip in its economic prospects.
You can put down Cheshire’s resilience to the chancellor’s axe as a statistical oddity. But there is a serious lesson to be drawn from this exercise.
Achieving Nick Clegg’s “progressive austerity” will be terrifically hard, particularly if benefits for middle class pensioners and parents are protected. And even if the direct impact on income from this Budget is shown to be “fair” to the poor, it is unlikely to fully reflect their sensitivity to the spending squeeze on public services.