Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Philip Hammond’s morning interviews about his budget
Here is the quote from the IFS’s director, Paul Johnson, explaining why he thinks the budget was a gamble.
So now we know. When push comes to shove it’s not tax rises and it’s not the NHS that Mr Hammond is willing to gamble on, it’s the public finances. Because yesterday’s budget was a bit of a gamble. Yes the OBR reduced borrowing forecasts so he was able to find more money without committing to more borrowing. But what the OBR gives the OBR can take away. Suppose the public finance forecasts deteriorate significantly next year. They might. There’s perhaps a one in three chance of that. What will he do then? It’s hard to see austerity starting up again with promised spending increases not materialising. The chances of getting sizeable tax rises though parliament are next to nil. It’s surely borrowing that would take the strain. Fair enough. That’s a judgment. But it’s a judgment that could see debt ratchet upwards.
Here is the text (pdf) of the opening remarks from Paul Johnson, director of the IFS, at its briefing about the budget which is taking place now.
I will post a summary shortly.