Pre-election budgets are normally quite exciting both in their content and in their delivery. But to be exciting a budget needs a few surprises and at least one rabbit. It needs a bit of theatricality in the delivery. This budget had none of that. Virtually every measure had been pre-briefed or announced, and Jeremy Hunt’s somewhat pedestrian delivery made Philip Hammond look like Michael McIntyre.

One of Hunt’s problems is that he has become the deputy Chancellor, by which I don’t mean he’s subservient to Rishi Sunak. He is, however, in total hock to the Office for Budget Responsibility. George Osborne created a monster when he created the OBR. Its forecasting ability makes the IMF look competent. Yet the chancellor is duty bound to read out their prognostifications as if they were carved in tablets by Moses. And woe betide him if he deigns to disagree with them. Liz Truss has seen to that. What he should ask for is their honest prediction but also best and worst case scenarios. That way he would be in a better position to come to a judgement.

Budgets are also about politics, as well as raw economics. Both Gordon Brown and George Osborne understood that. Sunak and Hunt don’t seem to. As Einstein once said, “If you do the same thing over and over again, don’t expect a different result”. Hunt got no political advantage from the 2p off National Insurance in October, and what do you know, he hasn’t this time either. And what’s more pensioners are furious about it as they don’t pay NI anyway. Given it’s pensioners who turn out to vote, you have to say the two cuts in NI are political own goals. And for those who will benefit from it, largely don’t understand what NI is anyway. Gordon Brown kept putting it up because he knew most people wouldn’t notice. You’d have thought Jeremy Hunt might work that one out.

Bar a cut in CGT for property deals there was precious little in this budget for Tory voters. No abolition or reform to IR35. No abolition of the Loan Charge. Precious little for small busineses.

All in all a missed opportunity. Or maybe it’s just too late anyway and there is nothing they can do to turn the tide. It is almost certain that another budget in September would be an utter waste of time and just reek of desperation.

I’ve now depressed myself.