The deficit is heading in the right direction, helped by increasing revenues from income tax, national insurance and VAT, which underlines how reliant government finances are on UK consumers both earning money, and spending it.
Despite the improving fiscal outlook, we can’t expect too many giveaways in the forthcoming budget. While the deficit is falling, the government still owes an eye-watering amount of money.
What’s more, the imaginary pie of future tax revenues that the chancellor has to play with is expected to be trimmed back significantly, thanks to an adjustment to economic projections made by the Office for Budget Responsibility.
Finally there’s also Brexit in the mix, and the unknown effect this will have on the UK economy, and government finances. All of this means the Chancellor’s spreadsheets will tell him he doesn’t have a great deal of room for manoeuvre on Budget day.