Budgets can be tricky things to manage. George Osborne saw two of his unravel in 2012 and 2016, over hot pasties and welfare cuts respectively, while his 2013 effort was derailed by the Evening Standard breaking its embargo. Thankfully Rishi Sunak has largely avoided such embarrassments in his three efforts so far. Helped by a legion of Rolls-Royce civil servants – and a savvy social media team – the Richmond MP has enjoyed favourable poll ratings off the back of his well-received statements, accompanied, as always, by carefully-crafted images depicting the Chancellor at his best.
But it seems all that isn't enough for the ambitious resident of No. 11. For Mr S has noticed that the Treasury have put out adverts this week for policy advisers on 'Budget Presentation' and 'Budget Co-ordination.' Successful applicants will get to work in the 'friendly and encouraging' Budget and Finance Bill team to prepare the Budget and guide the passage of the Finance Bill through Parliament. Not one for the faint hearts, Steerpike suspects. To experience the joys of working alongside Rishi, Simon Clarke et al, those applying must have an 'ability to influence others' – presumably in dragooning spendthrift ministers into seeing the errors of their ways.
It's not the only job going at HM Treasury currently. Multiple roles are currently going in the Climate Policy team – a newly launched unit in the Enterprise and Growth Unit to spearhead the Treasury’s work on climate change and net zero. Noble stuff. Wielding the levers which the Treasury controls – tax, spend and regulation – the new mandarins get to work across Whitehall, embedding 'climate into decision making' by developing ways to 'benchmark and drive climate decision making'. Applicants for these roles will be assessed on how good they are at 'working together' and 'seeing the big picture.'
Given his Treasury experience and recent retirement from the House of Lords, one for climate skeptic Nigel Lawson to apply for, perhaps?