Peter Hoskin

Darling gets adamant

Darling gets adamant
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Aside from all the talk about the Speaker in this morning's papers, it's worth reading Alistair Darling's interview with with the Times.  What do we learn?  Nothing much - but the adamant defence he puts up for his Budget growth forecasts is quite striking in itself:

"I am not going to change my forecasts," he said. "I remain confident that we will see a return to growth at the turn of the year."

The politics of this is fairly interesting.  If you remember, the last time Darling concoted some dubious growth statistics - albeit even more dubious ones, in last year's PBR - he started backtracking quickly enough in the face of public ridicule.  Not so this time; which suggests he may actually stick close to these growth forecasts in the PBR later this year.  Does the Chancellor genuinely believe them?  Or is he creating room for a spending splurge, to be "paid off" by better growth than everyone else expects?  Taxpayers - and the Tories - should fear the latter case.