George Osborne’s statement was less a 'Budget' and more a 'State of the Union' address. By ranging widely over education and health policies, he was setting out his pitch to be the next leader of the Conservative Party and in the process sidestepping Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education and a potential leadership rival.

These announcements were also an attempt to deflect from the problems of his own making. The upbeat economic message for the 2015 election helped to win the Conservatives a majority but by using the OBR ‘bonus’ in last year’s Comprehensive Spending Review to wrong-foot Labour on tax credits and police spending, he limited his room for manoeuvre this time around especially given the OBR’s downward revisions to growth.

However it was also clear from his figures that the ‘jam’ will not come tomorrow but instead will be in a very large jar exactly at the time of the next General Election.