As always, in the run up to the budget, Osborne has been trialling some of the items that will be in the Budget later today.
At the weekend he was warning that the Government would need to cut spending by £4bn extra cuts would be “equivalent to 50p in every £100” of public spending by 2020, which was “not a huge amount in the scheme of things”, he has said. However PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) put the figure at nearly £50billion – with the Chancellor missing his borrowing targets for each of the next five years.
With a big hole in the finances like this, and protected budgets in a number of departments, an obvious option would be to cut out a few large items – like HS2.
But instead, the Chancellor is carrying on with HS2 – and has announced further big projects:
— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) March 15, 2016
The National Infrastructure Commission is chaired by Lord Adonis, who liked HS2 so much that he set it up in the first place.
The upshot of all this, is that there are likely to be some serious belt-tightening for services that effect ordinary people, but big shiny projects for a man with a weakness for a hi-vis jacket.
The Budget speech will start at around 12.30pm, after Prime Ministers Questions. We’ll be tweeting if there is anything specific about Hs2