According to The History of Parliament the phrase ‘to open one’s budget’ “was being used in the sixteenth century to mean that someone was revealing something which was secret, perhaps even dubious. It meant something like bringing out a box of tricks. “
Yesterday’s budget certainly seems to justify that description.
The new Chancellor seems to be following the old fiscal rules even while spending is all of a sudden in favour… Admittedly that is Capital spending – which is some progress, though let us hope that the intentions are not subject to any sudden reversals… Capital investment is needed and is long term.
Ideally, bonds need to be (unlike taxes) hypothecated. So bonds for a specific purpose are distinctly beneficial and are able to engender an obligation to fulfill their declared function.
Meanwhile how on earth is there supposed to be any climate change credibility in the Budget?
Any climate change credibility is undermined by the alleged £27bn investment in new major road schemes, though that idea might be legally dubious. This compares, it seems, to just £1bn on green transport, all of which is likely to exacerbate the ‘Climate Emergency’, effectively locking in vehicle use and consequent high carbon…
Even the Coronovirus spending seems piecemeal and little planned. In short it is difficult to decide whether the budget is old fashioned budget box trickery or just an inconsistent mess, which is likely to need further work in short order….