Amid the welter of statistics and analysis which is pouring forth around Chancellor George Osborne's emergency budget, those who care for social justice should not let their eyes stray from the sleights of hand that rest at its core.
In the run-up to the government's 'emergency budget', the overwhelming political consensus, parroted each day by the BBC’s economic correspondents, is that ’balancing the budget’ and ’slashing the deficit’ is now a national priority.
The government appears likely to miss its target of halving child poverty by 2010 by at least 600,000 children, according to figures given in yesterday's budget and highlighted by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).
What do yesterday's announcements mean in terms of tackling the economic crisis, its main victims, and the climate change challenge? Here is my more or less immediate response to Alistair Darling’s final budget.