GEORGE Osborne will use Wednesday’s budget to announce cuts he hopes he will not have to make, according to think-tank the Institute For Fiscal Studies (IFS).

For the Chancellor to keep his promise of ditching the UK’s deficit by 2020, he must find a way to fill a £4bn black hole caused by slower-than-expected growth.

As grim as the economic outlook may be, the Chancellor will be wary of upsetting Tory backbenchers who are already fractious over the fallout of the EU referendum.

Paul Johnson of the IFS told the BBC: “One of the things I am guessing he is going to do is say that these cuts will be planned to happen in 2017 or 2018, and then frankly hope that the numbers move back in his direction before he actually has to implement them.

He added: “So what actually turns out to happen, I don’t think we will necessarily learn this week. I think we will learn: ‘this is how I will balance the books if I have to’, but frankly hoping that he doesn’t have to because things don’t have to change very much at all to reverse this again.”

Some of the measures expected to be in the Budget include a change in the way Personal Independent Payments, which are replacing Disability Living Allowance, are calculated. This is expected to save £1.2bn, but will see more than 600,000 disabled people lose out.

The personal allowance is expected to rise, as is the threshold for the higher-rate 40 per cent band. One headline-grabbing initiative would be the £2,000 in tax allowances for people who sell on eBay or use Airbnb to rent out rooms in their homes.

One loophole set to be closed will be the salary sacrifice, where employees agree with their employers to keep pay below a certain level so that they can receive certain benefits or remain in a lower tax bracket. Pay is effectively exchanged for pension contributions. This, Treasury sources say, is a low-hanging fruit.

The threshold on capital gains tax also looks set to be lowered.

A row is brewing over fuel duty. Osborne told the BBC changes had already been “pencilled in”, to raise the duty by RPI inflation, which is around 1.3 per cent. It would raise about £346.5m.

There is considerable pressure to freeze duty, andfrom both within and outwith his party. Treasury sources suggest Osborne is waiting until the eleventh hour before deciding. What might tempt him is that pump prices at the pump are at their lowest in more than a decade.

There were also suggestions of so-called stealth taxes, including a significant increase in insurance premium tax and a closing of a tax-avoidance loophole that allows television stars to be paid “off the books”.

Meanwhile A leading academic has suggested tax breaks could boost new field development across the UK North Sea.

Professor Alex Kemp of Aberdeen University analysed a number of different scenarios.

He said: “The conclusions to be drawn from the detailed analysis are that there are many marginal and sub-marginal new development projects in the [UK Continental Shelf] under likely oil and gas price scenarios, cost conditions, and field sizes.

“The evidence from the modelling is that a combination of headline tax rate reductions plus immediate relief for the investment allowance can have a significant positive effect on investment in new fields."

Aberdeen MSP Kevin Stewart said this was proof Osborne needed to back the North Sea industry.

“The UK Government have received £300bn in revenues from the North Sea over the last few decades," he said. "Now is the time to give something back so this industry can still have a future.”