George Osborne will play Scrooge not Santa when he unveils his Autumn Statement on Thursday.
The Chancellor has ruled out playing Father Christmas with a raft of vote-winning giveaways.
Instead, he’ll make it clear that Britain will be confined to meagre rations until the end of the decade.
His new theme is the “Responsible Recovery”. We will hear plenty of it.
Mr Osborne is desperate to stop voters running away with the idea that Britain’s financial crisis is over.
There are only 18 months to go before the May 2015 General Election.
The Tories’ best chance of victory rests on voters deciding to stick with the guys who are delivering steady recovery, rather than taking a gamble with Labour.
History is littered with the corpses of Prime Ministers who delivered but were rewarded by a grateful public by being slung out of office.
It’s why David Cameron repeatedly bangs on about “don’t give the keys back to the people who crashed the car”.
The economy has grown much more than ministers and experts had predicted only a few months ago.
We will soon be the envy of Europe with growth around 1.4% this year.
It means more money pouring into the Treasury’s bank account, allowing us to reduce our deficit.
Mr Osborne will remind voters and businesses that tackling the UK’s giant deficit and debt will deliver more value than anything else he could deliver.
Getting the balance right between showing the UK is on the right track and ensuring voters don’t vote for Labour is the acid test on Thursday.
That’s why the Chancellor infuriated a handful of Cabinet colleagues at the weekend with last minute demands for even further budget cuts.
Theresa May, Chris Grayling, Philip Hammond and Vince Cable have all had to slash spending.
There will be giveaways worth £2billion – but the new cuts are aimed at showing there is plenty of pain left in the British recovery and that the books must be balanced
Ministers will deliver free schools meals for all five-to-seven-year-olds in England at a cost of £700million.
They’ll spend the same amount on a new transferable married couple’s tax relief.
And small firms – especially shops – will escape a rise in business rates to help keep them trading and growing.
A planned 2p rise in petrol tax will be shelved and money set aside to help prevent a winter NHS crisis.
Mr Osborne has been forced once again to rewrite elements of his Autumn Statement thanks to his leaky LibDem colleagues.
Details of his radical change to green taxes were fed to the media way in advance of the event, wrong-footing the Treasury.
Labour will continue their attack on the government for failing to tackle the cost of living.
Ed Miliband will say the energy market measures don’t go far enough and threaten to penalise the poorest in Britain.
There will be further accusations that David Cameron and his team are the prisoners of big business and are doing too little to tackle the sky high cost of everyday life.
Mr Miliband has staked out his ground with crystal clarity.
He’s aiming to secure 35% of the vote on election night by positioning himself as a modern day left wing champion of the people.