The Con-Dem chancellor, George Osborne, claims his budget (24 March) is the "most pro-growth budget for a generation". But the British economy is barely crawling along, and the budget will do nothing to promote growth.
The government previously predicted 2.3% growth of gross domestic product (GDP - value of the total output of goods and services) for 2011. Now, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts meagre growth of 1.7% of GDP for 2011. Even that may prove to be optimistic given the scale of spending cuts and tax increases.
Working people are facing a future of cuts and falling living standards. The new Assembly and Executive have taken over from where the last left off. As we go to press, the exact cuts the main parties are planning remain shrouded in secrecy but it is clear that savage attacks are just around the corner.
This is happening against the background of the fact that the Northern Ireland economy remains in recession. The private sector here has now been shrinking for 41 months in a row. New car sales fell 19% year on year in April. The housing market remains in the doldrums - few houses are being sold and prices have fallen by over 40% from their peak in 2007.
With more hikes in fuel prices, this winter will see even more people deciding whether "to heat or eat".