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Osborne bids nation fill his Budget portal

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Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne wants to crowdsource ideas for the Budget.

A breathless announcement tells us that ideas sent via the "online Budget portal" will go "direct to the desks of the Treasury officials working on the Budget".

Whether firing a spam-cannon at presumably already busy civil servants is really the best way to help them deal with the complexities of macroeconomics and massive debt is unclear.

Of course it could be that Treasury officials are quite capable of entirely ignoring emails from speakyourbranes off of the internet.

Osborne said: “I want to hear about your brightest and best ideas. Because next month’s Budget will be all about growth. In particular I want to know what businesses, large and small, want from me."

The release claimed the portal was "another example of the Government's commitment to transparency in policy making". Although of course it would be more transparent if we could see what people were suggesting. But the coalition is not daft enough to let that happen again.

The Wiki-Budget follows on from the Spending Challenge website which came up with some great Raoul Moat suggestions here which led to its temporary closure two days after launch.

It was relaunched with less interactive features in order to filter out the racists and other interloons.

This time around Osborne is restricting just how much crap is sent. The Budget is on 23 March, but commentards must get their emails in by three weeks before the big day - so get busy before 2 March. The web form includes a summary box with a 2000 character limit.

Policy representations should be evidence-based and consider wider macroeconomic impacts, as well as sectoral and distributional impacts - something for Osborne to consider as criticism of his slash-fest continues unabated.

Osborne's statement on his online Budget portal is here. ®

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