Budget gloom expected this afternoon

CHANCELLOR of the Exchequer Gordon Brown was today delivering his seventh Budget – and experts feared it could be his gloomiest yet.There is widespread expectation that he would downgrade growth forecasts and increase borrowing for the second time in five months.

CHANCELLOR of the Exchequer Gordon Brown was today delivering his seventh Budget – and experts feared it could be his gloomiest yet.

There is widespread expectation that he would downgrade growth forecasts and increase borrowing for the second time in five months.

After briefing colleagues in Cabinet, Mr Brown was due to read his statement to the House of Commons at 12.30pm – the first time a Budget has been held at the new earlier time following last year's modernisation of sitting hours.

Mr Brown received an eve-of-Budget boost from Brussels as the latest European Commission forecasts showed Britain continuing to outperform the eurozone economies.


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But city analysts were expecting that Mr Brown – who predicted growth of 2.5% to 3% in his Pre-Budget Report in November – would have to bring his forecasts more into line with independent forecasters who are estimating growth of around 2%.

Later editions of tonight's Evening Star will carry full details of the budget – they are available from late-opening newsagents, supermarkets, and garages.

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