Politics

BUDGET 2021: As it happened


Budget 2021: LIVE

2:07pm – Lots of spending, but is it just replacing what was lost in the past 10 years? I imagine your view on that will depend on your political allegiances…

I’m off now! But thanks for joining us today for the 2021 budget!

2:05pm – Aaaand breathe!

Plenty in there to dissect. If you want a nice summary of the Chancellor’s speech, check out this summary on our website.

2:02pm – “They’re tired of the smoke and mirrors, of the bluster, of the false dawns.”

“We’d tax fairly, spend wisely… we’d get the Britons economy firing on all cylinders.”

Reeves ends her response.

2:00pm – “We would ensure that those with the broadest shoulders pay their fair share.”

Labour say this A LOT. I think that’s their campaign slogan for any upcoming elections…

1:59pm – A big sticking point here on climate. Reeves points out that Sunak “promoted domestic flights over long-haul rail in the week before COP26”

1:57pm – “With no mention of climate in his conference speech… we are burdened with a chancellor unwilling to meet the scale of the challenges we face.”

1:55pm – Praises national minimum wage, ending public sector pay freeze, ending UC taper rate.

But says “working people on universal credit still face a higher marginal tax rate than the prime minister.”

1:53pm – “We have a government that is a by-word for waste, cronyism and vanity projects.”

1:50pm – “As well as having the highest death toll in Europe, Britain has suffered the worst economic hit of any major economy.”

“We’re growing faster than others… but that’s because we fell the furthest.”

“Our economy is set to be permanently weaker.”

1:49pm – Says Cons were behind the previous Labour gov. even including the financial crash on growing the economy – 2.3% compared to 1.8%

1:48pm – “This budget today will only make things worse. The solution starts with growth.”

“Under the Conservatives Britain has become a low-growth economy. The Tories have grown the economy at just 1.8% per year.”

Says we are behind ‘other countries’.

1:46pm – Heavy emphasis on what the Conservatives have already cut and is being replaced by Reeves.

“Why are working people being asked to pay more tax and put up with worse services. Why is billions of pounds… being funnelled to friends and donors of the Conservative party?”

1:45pm – “A record NHS waiting list with no plan to clear it… still having to sell their home for social care.”

“A court backlog… growing gap between opportunities at private and state schools.”

1:43pm – There we go – Reeves picks up on the “last 10 years” by saying “who was in charge then?”

1:42pm – Reeves steps up in Starmer’s place: Says people will think the Chancellor “is living in a parallel universe.”

1:40pm – Sunak ends speech. Labour’s response coming up.

1:39pm – “Fuel duty, cut. Air passenger duty, cut. Alcohol duty, cut. Growth, up. Jobs, up. Wages, up. Public finances back in a better place… A pay rise for over 2 million people.”

“This budget levels-up… builds a stronger economy for the British people.”

Ends his speech.

1:38pm – On the universal credit taper. “Not by 1%… not by 2%… but by 8%.” People in jobs on UC will take home more than previously.

“2 million families will take home more than £1000 a year.” To be introduced in weeks.

1:35pm – “Government should have limits.”

Emphasises personal responsibility, “they are more important than the market or the state.”

“The moments that make life worth living aren’t announced by the government.”

Sunak has JUST spent 5 minutes talking about going to the pub…

1:33pm – We definitely didn’t know about this one…

Wage increase: “6.6% national living wage increase to £9.50 a year.”

Will benefit 2 million people, Sunak says.

1:29pm – It seems somewhat at odds that the government is making drinking cheaper whilst taking such a hard-line on illegal drugs – although that’s one for Patel rather than Sunak to discuss.

1:28pm – Onto pubs: “A fairer, healthier system supports pubs.” Announces draft relief – “new lower rate of duty on draft containers over 40 litres…”

Cut by 5%, “biggest cut to cider duty since 1923”

1:25pm – Changes to tax on alcohols. Lower strength drinks will be cheaper, and higher strength more expensive.

Rose included on the low list, which sits at roughly 9% alcohol.

1:23pm – 50% business rates discount for those in hospitality, retail and leisure

1:20pm –“We will retain business rates but with key reforms.”

“Fairer and timelier… Investment relief to encourage businesses to adopt green technologies… From 2023 every single business will be able to make property improvements and pay no extra business rates.”

1:18pm – On tax and a climate change scope: Sunak cuts air passenger duty for return domestic flights but puts up tax on long-haul flights.

1:16pm – The flag joke seems to have woken up the front bench, who seemed to be falling asleep earlier. Johnson looking rather chirpy now.

1:15pm – FLAG DEBATE: He’s just said ships can use UK merchant shipping flags.

1:13pm – A constant thread through this speech is Sunak discussing negative things that have happened in the last decade and announcing steps to reverse it.

I think we can expect to hear Labour mention that in their response to this.

1:08pm – “An economy built on innovation must be open to the best and brightest minds.”

Announces a new scale-up visa, making it easier for businesses to bring in “highly skilled individuals”.

1:07pm – “Innovation comes from the imagination and drive from businesses.”

1:05pm – Sunak announces large research investments, more than France, Germany and US.

1:02pm – But that said, a £150bn increase in departmental spending – a 3.8% a year real increase – is a marked difference from previous Conservative governments. Sunak not resorting to traditional values completely.

1:00pm – Slightly odd that Sunak keeps saying this all represents the biggest spending in a decade. The Conservatives have been in power for 11 years…

12:59pm – Tax reliefs doubled for theatres, museums, orchestras, galleries up to April 2023. £250 million cost.

12:58pm – British Museum and libraries to get extra funding as part of culture increase. New Beatles attraction on Liverpool waterfront.

12:57pm – Tonnes and tonnes of numbers on small scale projects being thrown out.

There’s a focus on levelling-up, with projects around Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland too.

“This will benefit the whole of the United Kingdom.”

“Aberdeen… Burnley… Stoke-on-Trent… Sunderland…”

12:55pm – Sunak definitely focusing on trying to give an optimistic outlook despite the current issues with inflation etc.

It’ll be interesting to see Labour’s response to that.

12:53pm – “We’re investing more in housing and home ownership.”

“£5bn to remove unsafe cladding.” – Check out our feature on that.

12:49pm – Bit suspect this… aid budget to return to 0.7 in 24/25.

So JUST before the next election. Wonder why they may do that…?

12:47pm – “Borrowing, down. Debt, down… Only the Conservatives can be trusted with taxpayers’ money.”

12:43pm – “We set out a plan for jobs… a plan that has helped millions of people.”

“Our plan for jobs is working.”

12:42pm – “Our recovery [will] be quicker.”

“Pre-covid level at the turn of the year.”

“Growth revised up from 4 to 6.5%.”

12:41pm – Sunak says we cannot solve these issues “overnight.” Inflation will reach 4% he says.

12:39pm – Sunak addresses inflation: “First, as economies around the world re-open, demands for goods has grown more than supply chains can meet…

“Global demand for energy has surged at a time when supplies have already been disrupted.”

12:38pm – “The only limit to our potential is the effort we are prepared to put in… That is the stronger economy of the future and this budget is the foundation.”

12:37pm –  “We will always give people the support they need and the tools for making a better lives for themselves.”

“For too long the location of your birth has determined too much of your future.”

12:36pm – “Today’s budget delivers a stronger economy for the British people… stronger public finances… stronger employment. Growth up, jobs up, debt down.”

12:35pm – Sunak starts: “I want to assure you that I have listened very carefully to what you have said.”

12:34pm – The deputy speaker addresses pre-briefing to the media. “Important policy announcements should be made first to parliament. I should put on record my support to Mr Speaker’s stance on this issue.”

12:22pm – PMQs highlights

We’ll be bringing you the budget soon, but in the meantime enjoy Ed Miliband standing in for covid-stricken Keir Starmer:

12:00pm – PMQs starting now

We’ll be updating this after prime minister’s questions!

11:38am – Levelling-Up

Chancellor Rishi Sunak reportedly told the cabinet this morning that “levelling up” would be the “golden thread” that runs through this spending review and budget.

Many people have been critical of the government for the lack of clarity over what “levelling-up” actually means. Perhaps this speech will address that.

11:30am – A lot of it may have been leaked already, but Rishi Sunak’s newest budget speech will take place in just over an hour.

Stick with us for all the news and commentary, straight after PMQs!





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