Jeremy Hunt should stick to sensible pledges – it’s too late for big moves

Imagine you’re Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, drafting your Autumn Statement for delivery in three weeks’ time. Bookies’ odds for a Tory general election win have moved out to six-to-one (against Labour’s dead-cert one-to-seven) following by-election wipe-outs. The Lib Dems look set to nab your South West Surrey seat if you don’t stand down anyway. And you can’t give your back-benches red-meat tax cuts because public borrowing for this year could run £30 billion higher than forecast. Releasing the pension ‘triple lock’ to save money would alienate older Tories. Inheritance tax giveaways that might please them would be campaign gold for Labour. A stamp duty cut would do nothing for floating-vote home-buyers facing