I really hope this story is a case of over reading remarks to foreign journalists. Srsly.
I know the Treasury can’t signal budget decisions in advance, but from an economic, industrial and yes, political perspective, a “steady as she goes (down)” budget would be a very bad idea indeed.
On the other hand a budget that wasn’t really cautious but was sold as being cautious might be OK. Though I’m not sure how you could pull that trick off.