Peter Hoskin

A risky forecast

A risky forecast
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Uh-oh.  Are the Government about to make an official forecast they might regret?  Speaking to the Standard, the Treasury minister Stephen Timms strongly hints that a 2009 recovery may be pencilled into the Budget.  Here's what he said:

"I wouldn't rule [growth this year] out. The question is when in the second half of the year and we will be a bit clearer about what we expect when we publish the Budget forecast"

Now, this isn't quite as outlandish as the forecasts in the PBR.  But it's still towards the optimistic end of the spectrum, and you'd have thought the government would play it safe rather than risk backtracking once again.  Exclaiming that "Oh, things were better than we thought," is a whole lot more forgiveable than "Sadly, things were worse than we thought".  Less embarraassing, too.

Just as with the PBR, there's a whiff of spin about all this.  The implicit message being: "Stick with us; we'll get you through this; Labour does work".  But, given how this backfired for Team Brown last time, it does seem unnecessarily risky to try it again.