BUDGET 2021: WHAT DO WE KNOW RISHI WILL ‘REVEAL?’ TODAY?
The Government has already announced spending worth more than £30billion which Rishi Sunak will confirm at the Budget later today.
Here is a list of some of the most prominent funding pledges:
- The national minimum wage will increase from £8.91 to £9.50 from April next year.
- An extra £6billion will be given to the NHS to pay for new equipment and new facilities to clear the Covid backlog.
- Brownfield sites covering the equivalent of 2,000 football pitches could be turned into plots for housing as part of a £1.8billion injection.
- A £2.6billion pot of funding will be set up to help children with special educational needs and disabilities.
- Levelling up transport outside of London will benefit to the tune of nearly £7billion, paying for a range of Projects, including tram improvements.
- The Department of Health and Social Care will receive £5billion over the next three years to fund research and development in areas such as genome sequencing and tackling health inequalities.
- A cash injection of £3billion will be given to both post-16 education but also to adults later in life.
- £850million will be spent over three years to ‘breathe life’ back into cultural hotspots like London’s V&A museum, Tate Liverpool and the Imperial War Museum in Duxford.
- Ageing Border Force vessels will be replaced by new cutters as part of a £700million investment to improve the safety of Britain’s borders.
Rishi Sunak, who was handed Budget firepower and growth forecasts nearly doubled, will today pledge to create a new age of optimism after Covid.
The strong rebound from pandemic has given the Chancellor a bit more money. The independent Office for Budget Responsibility expects that the UK plc will grow at 7 percent this year, rather than the 4 percent it estimated in March.
The incredibly resilient labour market means borrowing so far this year is well over £30billion below previous estimates.
Rumours swirl that Mr Sunak may use some of his headroom to relieve the pressures on families as well as businesses from raging inflation, supply chain chaos, and other calamities.
He has already stated that the minimum wage will increase and that the public sector’s pay freeze is being eliminated.
There is speculation that he will boost universal credit when he unveils his full fiscal package today. Meanwhile, alcohol duty could possibly be cut to aid pubs.
However, the Chancellor has also stressed the need to balance the books after the £400billion cost of the pandemic, with Tories raising alarm about the massive £2.2trillion debt and the looming threat of inflation driving up interest rates.
As he confirms that billions of pounds have been spent on the NHS and wage increases for millions of workers, Mr Sunak will hail the Budget as bringing in a new economy after the pandemic.
Mr Sunak will likely say during his speech: ‘Today’s Budget begins preparations for a new economy after Covid. A new economy with higher wages, higher skill levels, and rising productivity, strong public services, vibrant communities, and safer streets.
“An economy fit to a new age” This is the stronger economy of tomorrow.
The economy is in a better place than expected, thanks to the release of lockdown restrictions and the vaccination rollout.
This year’s growth forecasts will be revised from 4% potential to as high at 7.5 percent.
The OBR watchdog’s prediction about the’scarring’ from the pandemic – a permanent loss to the economy — could also be reduced.
This will give Mr Sunak greater flexibility to inject money into public services, as he outlines spending plans for Whitehall departments over three years.
However, the biggest-ticket item – the £12billion a year NHS and social care boost funded by an eye-watering national insurance hike – has already been revealed last month.
A positive news item for Mr Sunak is that there are now claims that the chances of ‘Plan B’ Covid restrictions have dropped dramatically following the levelling off of cases.
On a big day at Westminster:
- Ministers unveiled a new funding model to encourage more British investment in nuclear power stations – squeezing China out but risking higher home energy bills;
- Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Commons speaker, complained that Mr Sunak was treating MPs in an ‘inconsiderate manner’ by prebriefing some of his Budget announcements.
- Union bosses demanded that all public sector workers receive inflation-busting pay increases;
- It was warned that a new inflation forecast could reduce household incomes by £1,000 next year in real terms;
- The Budget is set to include a freeze on fuel duty – but not a cut on VAT on energy bills;
- A World Health Organisation Covid expert has advised MPs to wear masks for the Budget speech of Chancellor.
Rishi Sunak, the Minister of Finance today, will declare that Britain is ready for a new age of optimism and a post-Covid’ economic system. Pictured: Nova, Mr Sunak’s pet dog
Rishi Sunak was pictured in one of his trademark grey sweatshirt, as well as American-style footwear that comes with a hefty £95 price tag
Official forecasts are set to show the economy is rebounding faster than expected – a development that will allow the Chancellor (pictured last month) to splash more cash
Mr Sunak was seen looking at his Budget plans in the photos issued by the Treasury this afternoon.
Mr Sunak was wearing one of his famous grey zip up jumpers. However, it is not clear what the side zip would have been used for.
Before the Budget speech, the Chancellor was being paced by his aides in the official photos.
Energy bills ‘to rise £100 next year’
Energy bills will shoot up by at least £100 next year – or possibly £200 – because of the failure of suppliers, the boss of British Gas owner Centrica yesterday warned.
Due to the soaring wholesale gasoline prices, 16 energy suppliers are currently bankrupt. As many as 20 more energy suppliers could go bust in the coming weeks, it has been predicted. Energy companies are paying more to get gas and electricity than they are allowed by law because of the price cap on tariffs.
Centrica chief executive Chris O’Shea told the House of Lords yesterday that the shortfall would cost ‘every single home in the UK’ £100.
He stated that it was reasonable to expect that the number of people using …’ will double within the next few days.
The Treasury has pledged green investment and policies to take advantage of post-Brexit freedoms and has touted nearly £7billion of new funding for local transport.
New fiscal rules will be established by Mr Sunak, which are expected include a commitment to stop borrowing to finance day to day spending within three year.
It is believed that he will also need government debt, which averages around 100 per cent gross domestic product, to begin falling by 2025.
According to the Office for National Statistics, government borrowing was much lower than expected in the first half fiscal year.
The budget deficit was £108.1billion between April and September, almost 30 per cent below predictions. Mr Sunak will be cautious about how servicing the debt might become more costly if prices rise.
In March, he pointed out that a 1 per cent rise in interest rates and inflation would cost us over £25billion, adding: ‘Over the medium term, we cannot allow debt to keep rising, and, given how high our debt now is, we need to pay close attention to affordability.’
David Gauke, former Treasury minister said yesterday that Radio 4’s the World At One has good news for him because the economy is growing faster than expected.
He added, “There are still some real problems.”
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves advised Mr Sunak not to put too much pressure on the working people.
She stated that Labour would ease the burden on households by cutting VAT immediately on domestic energy bills. We would also not raise taxes on working people or British business while online giants get away free of their fair share.
Sir John Redwood, Tory MP and Minister for Public Finances, asked: “When are we going to get the plans to cut down the one-off pandemic expenditure?” Is there a plan to operate railway services in a new way to reduce the huge losses? The government must spend wisely.
Mr Sunak will confirm a rise of minimum wage to £9.50 from April however, it was warned that a new inflation forecast could reduce household incomes by £1,000 next year. Pictured: Rishi said that he had his budget ‘pre-game routine’ which included a can of Sprite and Twix.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Commons speaker (pictured), complained that Mr Sunak was treating MPs ‘discourteously’ by prebriefing some of his Budget announcements. He stated that announcements should be made to MPs rather than the media.
Relaxed: Rishi keeps his feet warm in socks and a trendy pair of £95 ‘sliders’ made by fashion label Palm Angels as he puts the finishing touches to his Budget
Chancellor, there’s no time to flip-flop!
By HARRIET LINE Chief Political Correspondent for the Daily Mail
Rishi Sunak teamed a pair of socks with £95 ‘sliders’ as he put the final touches on his Budget.
The Treasury released glossy photos showing the Chancellor wearing the American-style shoes made by Palm Angels.
“Sliders” are similar to flip-flops, but have no central toe post. They are popular among sports stars.
Another photo showed Sprite and Twix bars next to his red box. This was after the Chancellor stated that he would eat the sugary snacks in his ‘pre-game’ routine pre-Budget.
The Chancellor, who is teetotal will not have a sharpener as his predecessors when he delivers his speech today in the Commons.
Last year Mr Sunak raised eyebrows after pre-Budget photos showed a £180 travel mug on his desk.
The Christmas present of his wife, the ‘Ember Smart Mug, is a hot drink mug that keeps tea and coffee hot for up to three hours. It comes with its own charging coaster.
Labour’s child poverty spokesman Wes Streeting said last night: ‘I don’t care if the Chancellor chooses to spend £95 of his money on a pair of flip-flops, but I do care that he’s so out of touch that he doesn’t understand the impact of taking £20 a week off low-paid workers and what it means for 200,000 kids pushed into poverty by his policy.’
Sir Lindsay Hoyle slams Rishi Sunak’s ‘discourteousness’ for releasing parts his Budget before the deadline and without telling Parliament first, as MPs accuse ministers’ of ‘treating parliament with utter contempt’
JACK MAIDMENT, Deputy Politic Editor, and DAVID WILCOCK Whitehall Correspondent for MailOnline
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle stepped up his war of words with the Government today as he tore into Rishi Sunak over a slew of pre-Budget policy announcements.
Tomorrow, the Chancellor will present his eagerly awaited Budget to MPs. However, the Treasury has established many policies in the media prior to the financial statement.
Sir Lindsay has repeatedly rebuked this approach, insisting that all policy announcements should be made first to politicians.
Sir Lindsay, who has made a point of rebuking ministers for making announcements outside the Commons, criticised ministers over the approach yesterday and did the same again this afternoon after more fiscal details were briefed.
The Commons Speaker accused Mr Sunak of being disrespectful to Parliament and the Treasury. He vowed to do all he could to ensure ministers answer questions from MPs.
MPs on both sides of this chamber vented their anger at the Government’s communications strategy, accusing ministers with treating parliamentary democracy with “utter contempt”.
This is the latest standoff between the Speaker of the House and ministers. After being given a blunt telling off, Boris Johnson made major Covid decisions in June to Parliament and to the nation via television.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle stepped up his battle with the Government today, blaming Rishi Sunak’s pre-Budget policy announcements.
The Chancellor will present his Budget tomorrow, but the Treasury has established many policies before the financial statement.
Mr Sunak joked that Nova, his dog, was not very excited about the proposals he would reveal tomorrow
Sir Lindsay granted Sir Lindsay a second urgent question within two days to force Treasury ministers into the Commons to answer questions about the forthcoming fiscal event.
He said that the ministerial codes states that important announcements about Government policy should first be made to Parliament during session.
Sir Lindsay stated to the Commons that he was disappointed to see more stories today with seemingly well-briefed information about tomorrow’s Budget.
He said that the Government had treated the Commons in a “discourteous” manner, adding that: “This House will not take for granted, it’s wrong for everybody to receive briefings, it’s important for everyone to be briefed, and it’s also not more important to watch the news in the morning than it is to come to the meeting.”
Simon Clarke, Chief Secretary to Treasury, defended the Government. He stated that part of the purpose of ‘trailing certain aspects of the Budget in the advance is to help communicate with the public what we are doing with their hard-earned cash’.
Responding to a Labour pre-Budget question, he stated: “The ability of Parliament, including the Budget, to scrutinise Government is clearly crucial. This is why we have five days of parliamentary deliberation this week and next, and why the Chancellor will also be appearing in front of two select committees in this House next week.
He said that Mr Sunak will present the ‘bulk’ of the details of the Budget to the Commons tomorrow.
He said: “Part of the Government’s objective when trailing certain aspects of the Budget in Advance is to help communicate the public what we are doing with their hard earned money because we believe there’s merit in clear, accurate information.
Both Labour and Tory MPs criticized Mr Clarke.
Julian Lewis, Conservative asked the minister: “Why is it important, right and necessary to share Budget information to the media before it’s shared with this House? It can be subject to proper scrutiny.” Will he make an undertaking on behalf the Treasury team to stop doing this?
Angela Eagle, Labour’s spokesperson, said: “This is treating parliamentary democracy in utter contempt. The minister should be ashamed of himself. He should have come before this House to apologise, his boss should have come before this House to apologise.
Sir Lindsay has repeatedly criticized ministers for making political announcements at press conferences or in briefings to journalists.
In January he hit out at Boris Johnson again for setting out his lockdown decision at a press conference instead of to MPs.
After Johnson announced an extension in coronavirus measures for media, the Commons Speaker said that the Prime Minister should be present.
He accused the PM and Number 10 of running roughshod over Parliament. He said that the treatment of Parliament by Number 10 was ‘totally inacceptable’, and he reiterated that announcements should be made first at the despatch office.
In June he summoned the PM for showdown talks amid a furious bust-up over the four-week lockdown delay.
Sir Lindsay reprimanded Mr Johnson for “disrespecting” MPs by broadcasting live from Downing Street. This was because MPS should be the first to be heard.
Yesterday, he referred to the 1947 resignation by Hugh Dalton as Labour chancellor, after parts of his Budget were published in a paper just before he gave his speech. This was an attack on Mr Sunak.
On his way to the chamber, he told John Carvel about the Star newspaper’s reporter: “No more tobacco; no more beer; some on dogs and horses but not horses; an increase in purchase tax but only on articles that are now taxable; profits tax doubled.
The reporter turned the information around faster than the chancellor and the politician resigned the next day.
It set a precedent in Whitehall that leaking a Budget ahead of time was the most serious. However, this rule has been broken in recent years with information leaks starting under New Labour.
Sir Lindsay stated: “At one point ministers did the right things if they briefed prior to a Budget – he walked.”
The Speaker could be heard shouting’resign’, and then adding: ‘Yes, absolutely. It seems that we are in a situation where if it hasn’t been out five days ago, it’s not worth putting it out.
“I have to say that members are elected to this House in order to represent their constituents. Those constituents rightly expect the MP hear it first to be able listen to the Budget and also to be able hold them accountable for the days that follow. It’s unacceptable and the Government should not try to run roughshod through this House.
We are still waiting to hear which colour skimpies Mr Sunak will wear. HENRY DEDES, on the endless pre-Budget briefings
Simon Clarke made his first appearance at the dispatch box just minutes after he arrived and the House was already bending over twice.
They laughed. There was hootering and hollering, as well as much slapping. Even Mr Speaker rocked back and clapped his arms.
Such a reception would usually bring cheer to a minister trying to make his mark, but jittery behind-the-ears.
The problem for Treasury minister Clarke was that the chamber was laughing with him, rather than at him.
He was responding to an urgent query about the loose-lipped prebudget briefings that had been ongoing all week.
Simon Clarke had just made his first big appearance at dispatch box, and the new boy in the Treasury had the House bent over two times, writes HENRY DEDES
The Treasury has been more leaky than a busted colander. They have been leaking details about what to expect today, right up to the type of chocolate Rishi sunak plans to eat.
Surprise is that tongue-wagging mandarins have yet to tell us which colour skimpies the Chancellor will wear.
This is not something Clarke knew about, of course. No, my goodness. He spoke with the arrogant, butter-wouldn’t melt innocence of a cherubcheeked princeling and told the House loftily: ‘I will never comment on leaks.
The hysterical eruption ensues. Clarke’s Tory MPs even howled like a pack crazed coyotes. Poor Clarke. It wasn’t his fault. Barely had he had the chance to unpack his calculator at Treasury, and here he was covering the Chancellor.
Some newbies might have been tempted remind the Chamber of this fact. Instead, he did the only thing he could – stood tall and accepted every rotten cabbage bunged at him.
Incidentally, standing tall is one thing Clarke – at 6ft 7in – does well. Clarke could be a superstar in the NBA if he didn’t have his wonky glasses.
Boris claims that Boris sent Rishi (6ft 6in) to make Rishi feel even more twitchy.
Clarke’s tone remained apologetic, but he never issued an apology. He made a lot of noise about communicating with the public about their money and insisted that no restrictions from the Budget embargo had ever been broken.
“That’s a matter to be judged!” Sir Lindsay Hoyle, as seen below, yelled his furious feelings about the Whitehall seepage.
Clarke was also angered. John Redwood (Conservative, Wokingham), reiterated the need to maintain Budget secrecy.
Labour benches were happy to hear Mr Redwood’s comments. This is not something we often see. Jake Berry (Con, Rossendale), wondered whether we could expect anything new today that wasn’t already reported.
Clarke assured him that there would be many more rabbits in hats. “Just watch Sky TV tomorrow!” Sir Lindsay wept. More laughter.
Angela Eagle (Lab Wallasey), was the one who made the most combustible interventions. Ms Eagle speaks almost with the enthusiasm and passion of a British Rail announcer about to retire. Yesterday she was snarling. “Contempt!”She yelled. ‘Ashamed …apologise!’
Clarke took a rare moment to crack a joke. He said that Clarke, a former Treasury Minister herself would not have engaged in such an activity.
Ms Eagle’s humor is very selective. She rarely finds much humor in anything, and yesterday was no exception. “No!” She screamed. “Shameful!”
It took Sir Lindsay 40 minutes before Clarke was finally allowed to continue his journey. American frat houses have less sadistic initiation ceremonies. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was also a Foreign Office questions debutant.
Ms. Truss, at risk of sounding too 1970s-style, is a Minister On the Move. It seems like a week goes by without her appearing in a photo shoot. A plus, she has a fun new haircut and has upped her social media presence.
Despite all her pomp, she lacks authority. An outsider in politics would struggle to identify her today as the senior minister in her division.
This is not a problem Priti Pantel would ever face. Rishi Sunak is also a good choice. While the latter is still King in Waiting let’s check out how today’s Budget fare. It feels like it could be a moment.