The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, has confirmed that ‘Britain’s Budget for 2010’ will be delivered on 24th March which means that he now has less than two weeks preparation for what may or may not be his last budget, given the looming general election.

The budget date was announced by Mr Darling in a ministerial statement yesterday and this detail was later reiterated by the prime minister during a separate speech. The date of the budget will draw further speculation that the general election will be held on 6th May as has long been expected. The belief now, however, is that the economy will be the main issue which the political parties will fight over and essentially seek to gain votes over. Setting the scene, Gordon Brown spoke yesterday to argue that a Tory government would further risk the UK economy whereas economic recovery would be protected by a Labour government. The week following the budget will surely see these arguments played out in parliament.

The expectation is then that the prime minister will approach Buckingham Palace following the Easter weekend to formally announce the general election. The announcement would then be made two weeks before the GDP figures are released.

Labour have pledged to do “whatever it takes” to safeguard economic recovery with a focus on “protecting and advancing the recovery”. The prime minister also stated an intention to ensure “Britain can succeed in new industries”.

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