Budget date set for 24 March

BUDGET Lead 18The last Budget before the next general election will be held on Wednesday 24 March.

In a business speech, the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown confirmed the date that many commentators had been expecting.

In a written ministerial statement, the Chancellor, Alistair Darling announced that he would deliver his Budget statement at 12.30pm on 24 March.

The timing of the Budget suggests that the government will call the general election for 6 May.

It is not thought that Mr Darling will be revising the economic forecasts that he set out in the pre-Budget Report.

In his speech, Mr Brown said that higher-ranking public servants would be subject to a pay freeze aimed at saving £3.4 billion by 2013/14. A cap of 1 per cent is planned for middle-ranking public sector employees.

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