BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Page last updated at 19:32 GMT, Sunday, 16 March 2008

Boom or Bust

As the Chancellor puts the finishing touches to his budget, Michael White of the Guardian recalls some of the most significant budgets of Alastair Darling's predecessors in Boom or Bust.

He begins with Denis Healey's two budgets in 1976. The first made a remarkable and unprecedented proposal of tax cuts which were conditional on wage restraint - the first time a Chancellor had made his tax plans dependent on the decisions of someone else. The second made drastic spending cuts as a condition of an IMF loan.

In part two, Michael White remembers 1981 and Geoffrey Howe's dramatic decision to slash spending and raise taxes.

In the final part, Michael White reaches 1992 and two budgets - the real one by the Conservative chancellor Norman Lamont and Labour's so called 'shadow' budget drawn up by the late John Smith. As Norman Lamont recalls the objective was to design a budget which would maximise the Tories' chances of winning an imminent general election under the leadership of John Major.

video and audio news
Part one of Boom or Bust

Part two of Boom or Bust

Part three of Boom or Bust

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

banner watch listen bbc sport Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific