By Jonathan Davies

If George Osborne's Budget on Wednesday was the talk of the nation, or at least the business community, the Budget put forward by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander on Thursday was barely the talk of the House of Commons.

Brandishing a yellow briefcase, not a red one, and speaking to just a handful of MPs in Westminster, Mr Alexander unveiled an alternative and what he called "better" Budget than the one delivered by the Chancellor on Wednesday.

The Treasury secretary said the Lib Dems could not cut as much as a Conservative government, but borrow less than a Labour government.

"People want a strong economy, based on a credible plan but people also want a fairer society based on modern public services.

"For all those people left cold by yesterday's exchanges, all those asking is there another way to do this? Yes there is.

"Today I set our a better economic plan for Britain - a plan that is based on the values of fairness as well as strength.

"A plan that would deliver on our commitment to balance the books in a fair way. A plan that borrows less than Labour and cuts less than the Conservatives."

Mr Alexander said the Lib Dems would seek the eliminate the deficit by 2017/18 through £30bn worth of spending cuts, like the Conservatives.

But he added that the party would generate an extra £6bn from tax evaders and a further £6bn from further taxes on the rich, which includes the Lid Dem's 'mansion tax'.

Reacting to the Treasury secretary's alternative Lib Dem Budget, CBI director general John Cridland said: "We will await the Liberal Democrats' manifesto for more detail on their fiscal plans and the £6bn they look to raise through tax rises."

He added: "Tax evasion is illegal, and the CBI strongly condemns this, along with abusive arrangements which are highly artificial and have no other purpose than to avoid tax. HMRC should have the powers and more importantly the resources it needs to tackle evasion and abusive tax avoidance effectively."

'Farce'

But should Danny Alexander have been allowed to unveil a Lib-Dem alternative Budget?

Before delivering his statement, the Commons Speaker John Bercow reminded Mr Alexander that it would have to be ministerial, and not party political.

The Treasury secretary stressed that the alternative Budget had been produced by Treasury officials, not the Liberal Democrat party, using information supplied by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

Conservative MP Adam Afriye said he was "stunned" by what he described as "an absolute betrayal of the role they [Liberal Democrats] have played in government".

Shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie said the alternative Budget was a "farce" and also accused him of abusing his position as a government minister to make party political points.

Can we all have a shot of using Parliament's time and civil servants time for such purposes?" he added.

Mr Alexander was heckled throughout his statement by the handful of opposition MPs in attendance and accused one of "raving like a lunatic".

Following the alternative Budget, he also revealed coalition plans to crackdown on corporate tax avoidance and evasion.