Asha Speckman Economics writer

Christmas is ten weeks away, but I'm praying for a miracle that will see it come early for the economy and the pockets of long-suffering consumers. The growth outlook continues to sour with each new forecast and to top off the bad news, some economists are predicting the government may take further drastic tax measures to rescue a desperate revenue situation. The obvious options are hikes in sin taxes on alcohol and tobacco-related products and limited compensation for bracket creep. The latter results when inflation pushes income into higher tax brackets but there is no real growth in purchasing power. An early Christmas gift could come in the form of finance minister Tito Mboweni announcing serious cost-cutting measures in the higher echelons of government when he delivers his first medium-term budget policy statement on Wednesday. On my Christmas list would be a smaller cabinet, strict limits on travel spending for ministers and curbs on refurbishing the homes of senior officials...

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