U.K. Treasury chief Jeremy Hunt is staging a moment of high political theater Wednesday, unveiling his budget to a crowd of baying lawmakers as consumers demand more help with the high cost of living and workers press for higher wages with strikes at schools, hospitals and the offices of civil servants.

Even as Hunt plays his historically scripted role — emerging from his official residence with the spending plan in a battered red dispatch box, then carrying it to the House of Commons where he was greeted by jeers and cheers — the truth is he sought to be as boring as possible, AP writes.

That’s because the last time the government staged a similar “fiscal event,” the mini-budget presented by Hunt’s predecessor last September, it set off an economic catastrophe by promising huge tax cuts without saying how it would pay for them.

The value of the pound plunged, mortgage rates soared and the central bank was forced to intervene to protect pension funds.

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