UK economy to roar back as Rishi hails ‘a new age of optimism’

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"Our unprecedented furlough scheme helped people when they needed it most" - Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is predicted to herald a “new economy post-Covid” due to a fast bounce-back from the pandemic.

Mr. Sunak has already made £30bn of spending announcements across the health service, housebuilding, crime-fighting, transport and skills. He is also expected to unveil a flagship measure to help families hit by the £1,000 cut to universal credit. 

New money will be put into key Tory reform areas, such as developing brownfield sites and improving local transport links, as the focus shifts to delivering promises before the next election. Around £1.8 billion will be spent regenerating brownfield sites in an attempt to increase the number of homes built every year – a pledge made in the 2019 Tory manifesto.

Tens of billions of pounds extra will also be put into the NHS and eventually new social care reforms in an attempt to bring down waiting lists and modernise the service.

Fuel duty is expected to be frozen, helping with soaring petrol prices. Cuts to alcohol duties could also be on the cards.

There is expected to be a recommitment to getting debt falling in the coming years and not using borrowing to cover spending increases, with an emphasis on fiscal responsibility.

The Treasury is expected to insist that there will be no return to David Cameron’s “austerity” from the early 2010s.

Introducing his Budget to the House of Commons, Mr Sunak is expected to say:

“Today’s Budget begins the work of preparing for a new economy post-Covid. An economy of higher wages, higher skills and rising productivity. Of strong public services, vibrant communities and safer streets.

“An economy fit for a new age of optimism. That is the stronger economy of the future.”

Rishi Sunak will deliver his Budget and spending review at 12.30pm, with the Office for Budget Responsibility holding a press conference at 2.30pm.

To read Rishi Sunak’s speech as it was said click here.

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