By politics.co.uk staff
Gordon Brown has confirmed the Budget will be held in "two weeks' time", ending speculation about an early general election.
Westminster insiders had already ruled out the idea of an early election before the likely date of May 6th, when local government elections also take place.
But many continued to believe the prime minister could call a snap poll in a bid to wrongfoot the Tories.
"For the first time in British history, the government has made a tough legally binding commitment to reduce the deficit: a contract between the government and the British people," the prime minister said.
"This contract says we will more than halve the deficit over four years, and we will also reduce the size of the structural deficit by two-thirds over the same period.
"We will set out in more detail in the Budget in two weeks' time how we deliver on our commitment to restore the public finances while protecting the fundamental public services that we all depend on."
A poll for the Metro newspaper by Harris gave the Conservatives an eight-point advantage, with the Tories on 37% and Labour on 29%, however.
The poll gave the Liberal Democrats 18% of respondents' support, with Ukip on five per cent and the British National party close behind on four per cent.
A third of those who voted Labour in 2005 said they would be abandoning Gordon Brown's party this time round.