CHANCELLOR Gordon Brown was today being urged not to put up business taxes as he delivered his Budget.
The Confederation of British Industry called for a "boring" Budget without any nasty surprises for business.
It warned Mr Brown that putting up business taxes would put Britain's economic recovery at risk.
The Chancellor had said he intended to use his Budget statement to "lock in" economic stability as he starts to slow the rate of growth in public spending in the run up to the next General Election.
With Prime Minister Tony Blair expected to go to the polls in around 18 months time, Mr Brown was expected to avoid any big, politically-damaging tax hikes which could cost the Government support.
But some analysts warned that the Chancellor may try to raise taxation by "stealth" in order to bolster the public finances.
There was speculation that smokers and drinkers would be hit as the Chancellor raises the traditional "sin" taxes on tobacco and alcohol.
Real ale drinkers may, however, escape with suggestions that Mr Brown was set to extend a tax break for micro-breweries.
Mr Brown was thought to be planning a crackdown on tax avoidance schemes which some experts predict could net the Treasury between £1bn and £2bn a year.
At the same time, he was publishing the findings of a review by the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, Gus O'Donnell, on the workings of the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise which could see the two services merge.
Also being released was the final report by Kate Barker, a member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, into the shortage of housing.
It was thought that Mr Brown would respond to its findings with the announcement of new incentives to encourage house building.
Other measures expected in the Budget included a clampdown on abuses of Internet betting. These have been at the centre of recent controversies in the world of horse racing.
Overall, Mr Brown was expected to deliver a bullish assessment of the outlook for economy.
And he was expected to say that he remained on course to keep Government borrowing below 40% of national income.
His forecast for borrowing in the current year was expected to differ little from the December pre-Budget report prediction of £37bn.