The Pre-Budget Report: the clashes continue

The Pre-Budget Report: the clashes continue

How will Gord and Dave do tomorrow?

In view of its importance in setting out the battlegrounds for the general election it’s hardly surprising that the political day has been dominated by skirmishes over yesterday’s statement by Chancellor Darling.

We’ve seen the Tories arguing that the detail of the plans means that people earning as little as £19,000 a year will be worse off and questions over whether the new 45% tax rate will actually bring in more revenue. All predictable.

The argument has now moved on a stage with an agreement by the Speaker to Tory demands late this afternoon that there should be an emergency debate and this has been fixed for tomorrow afternoon. This might sound odd – but because this was not an actual budget statement then there was no provision for a normal pattern of debates.

Tomorrow should also see Gord and Dave have their first public skirmish over the plans at PMQs. Will that add to anything or change opinion? Until now, of course, all the formal argument has been carried out by proxies – Osborne and Darling.

I’m hoping that we might see the first post-PBR opinion polls in the next 36 hours.

NOTE: Comments attributed to me in the Guardian: Yesterday at 2.25pm the Guardian called me to give my views on the PBR statement that was due to start just over an hour later at 3.30pm. That’s fine except that there were published The way this appearedsuggested that I was giving my post statement reaction. This was wrong and the paper should not have let it appear like that.

Thanks to Marf of for today cartoon – another winner.

Mike Smithson

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