The intervention has been carefully timed by Fox, still in rehabilitation mode after he was forced to quit the cabinet over the Werritty saga before Christmas.
The MP is still a standard-bearer for the Tory right, in particular those who believe fervently in free markets. In his article he calls for a cut in National Insurance for employers and also for a loosening of the labour market to allow easier hiring and firing – as recommended in the controversial Beecroft report.
Many other Tory MPs share his view that the Budget needs to be a blockbuster; and tax cuts and less red tape are top of the wishlist for many.
The only question is how the coalition will pay for measures such as a cut in NI given that borrowing forecasts are already £148bn adrift for the current Parliament. (And given it needs to find over £1bn just to pay for the next instalment of the LibDem-inspired increase in the personal tax threshold.)
The Balls solution is to borrow more; but that would go against everything George Osborne has been saying in the last two years. The Fox solution is to cut more; given that we are only an estimated 15 per cent into the existing cuts programme (with plenty of protest) is that politically feasible? You wouldn’t have thought so.
Osborne will receive many such submissions in the next month. If there was a magic bullet to solve Britain’s growth problem, however, he would have already used it.