"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.