Ahead of the Budget today, ICAEW urges Chancellor George Osborne to use any unexpected windfall to pay down the UK's public debt, and not create short-term pre-election promises that could stop the economic recovery in its tracks.

Chief Executive Michael Izza makes the comment amid reports that reasonable tax receipts and lower inflation have improved the outlook for the public purse, which would enable the Chancellor to lower austerity forecasts in the next Parliament.

Michael Izza, ICAEW Chief Executive, said:

'With little time to go until the General Election, we are seeing better than expected tax receipts, and low inflation means that George Osborne will probably improve his forecasts for the next five years at the despatch box. The Chancellor may consider using any windfall to implement policies that he considers vote-winners at the next election. However as the coalition government made the economy its top priority when taking office, the Chancellor should ensure that this Budget is fiscally neutral.

'So long as we are on the right path to recovery the Chancellor should not abdicate his responsibility to paying down our national debt, and any extra cash should be used in this way. The IFS Green Budget showed that there are tough choices ahead. Voters recognise the need for our debt and deficit to be brought down, but will not forgive the government if it passes up the opportunity to do this sooner, like they would with their credit cards, for the sake of promises ahead of the General Election.'