As Rishi Sunak got up to present his first Budget, many were watching with bated breath to see how he would juggle the contradictory forces of Brexit, Coronavirus, austerity and public services, in the first Budget for a brand-new Chancellor in a brand-new Government.
Coronavirus is, of course, at the forefront of most people’s minds, and Mr. Sunak prioritised measures supporting both the NHS and UK business to ensure we would get through it together. As well as committing a £5 billion emergency response fund for the NHS, with as much as 20% of the country’s workforce predicted to be off work at any one time, measures supporting small business and those unable to work were top of the Chancellor’s list
The Chancellor also focused on infrastructure spending, education, encouraging business development and innovation, housing and the environment. With an evangelical refrain that this would be the Budget that ‘gets it done’, he promised to deliver the change that the British people voted for in the recent election, although Brexit itself barely saw a mention.
Continuing on from the surprise turnaround in the election, which saw traditional Northern worker’s constituencies turning blue, the Budget included significant spending on public services, matched with significant additional borrowings, and so was not a traditional Conservative offering, albeit noticeably absent from any change was the current inheritance tax regime. Overall, a net giveaway by the Government, and lauded by the likes of the OBR, this Budget did what it needed to do, without upsetting too many apple carts in the process. A “miracle job” indeed. The highlights from yesterday are below: