Saturday, December 4

Budget 2021 Live: Rishi Sunak to Declare ‘Era of Optimism’ Along with Spending Review | Politics

Hello. Budget day is always an exciting time in Westminster, but one of the unusual features of today’s statement is that Rishi Sunak will deliver it several weeks after announcing by far his largest fiscal component. The £ 12 billion a year health and social assistance fee released in September was almost certainly more significant than any of the single tax measures we’ll hear about today.

Another feature of this budget is that it proceeded with an unprecedented amount of prior reports from the Treasury. We have already had 19 press releases on what it will contain.

So what will make the statement we are receiving this afternoon meaningful or memorable? There are probably two aspects that will stand out.

First, do not despair, there will be news. This is a review of expenses, as well as a budget, and that means that we will learn much more about departmental expenses than we do with a normal budget. In addition, for presentation reasons, the chancellor will want to have the usual surprise for the deputies, and for the country, at the end of his speech. There’s a lot of speculation this morning about what it will be, and on the Today show Andy Burnham, the Labor mayor of Greater Manchester, suggested it could come in the form of a U-turn at £ 20 a week. universal credit cut.

Second, as or more important than the multiple announcements about taxes and spending will be the overall story Sunak seeks to tell the country. He delivered his first budget in March 2020, but within a week he had to break it due to the Covid pandemic and since then his chancellery has been dominated by dealing with that crisis. This will be the first budget I write without being dominated by Covid, and looking towards a more normal economic environment. It will be a defining moment. Sunak presents himself as a fiscal conservative, with a picture of Nigel Lawson on display in the studio. But he works for a prime minister whose economic model is more of a fairy tale than Milton Friedman, so the budget will have to resolve those tensions.

As Rowena Mason reports in her overnight preview, Sunak will accommodate Boris Johnson’s innate drive in his speech by declaring that we are in an era of optimism. Sunak will say:

Today’s budget begins the work of preparing for a new post-Covid economy.

An economy of higher wages, better skills, and increased productivity.

Strong public services, vibrant communities, and safer streets.

An economy fit for a new era of optimism.

That is the strongest economy of the future.

For millions of people facing mounting costs of living, it may seem the opposite.

The cabinet met at 8.30 a.m. This morning’s M. and Sunak is briefing his colleagues on the budget. Here is the agenda for the day.

12:00 h: Boris Johnson faces Sir Keir Starmer at PMQ.

12.30 pm: Rishi Sunak delivers the budget.

1.30 pm: The Office of Budgetary Responsibility publishes the economic and fiscal outlook for October 2021

2.30 pm BST: Richard Hughes, President of the Office of Budget Responsibility, gives a briefing on OBR’s budget forecasts.

I will blog all day with my colleague Graeme Wearden. We will cover the preparation of the speech, the statement itself, and then we will focus on the reaction and the analysis, and in particular, we will try to identify the surprises in small print that Sunak may have missed.

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