Peter Hoskin

A disgraceful approach to economic management

A disgraceful approach to economic management
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Absolutely worth reading Rachel's Sylvester column in the Times today, on the growing frenzy inside the Cabinet.  There are plenty of noteworthy snippets about Ed Balls (e.g. "Lord Mandelson's allies suspect the Schools Secretary of spreading rumours that he would be moved to the Foreign Office because he wanted him out of the way"), but it's this passage on the Budget's growth figures which jumped out at me:

"In the run-up to the Budget, I am told that the Prime Minister tried to upgrade the growth forecasts to make the economic outlook appear rosier than it was; the Chancellor refused."

Thing is, the growth figures which actually made it into the Budget - predicting a trampoline recovery - are already optimistic to the point of madness.  So you shudder to think what Brown had in mind.  

Politically, it shows just how much emphasis the Dear Leader is placing on a "green shoots" approach: creating the impression that the economy is recovering quicker than it actually is, and hoovering up all the credit.  And it should warn the Tories of how much damage Brown could wreak if he gets a more pliant Chancellor in No.11 - someone like, say, Mr Balls.