Budget Fallout 1) Tory MPs give ‘conditional backing’ to Sunak’s tax rises…

“Conservative MPs on Thursday signalled they would accept the large tax and spending increases imposed by chancellor Rishi Sunak, but some have privately warned they will not support further rises. The chancellor woke to newspaper headlines the day following his third Budget including “Sunak’s spending spree” and “Hey, big spenders” after overseeing a huge expansion in the size of the state. Total government spending is on course to reach 41.6 per cent of gross domestic product in five years, the highest level since the 1970s. The tax burden as a proportion of GDP is due to rise to 36.2 per cent by 2026-27, the highest level since Clement Attlee’s postwar Labour government. Sunak’s Budget bore the imprint of Boris Johnson, who favours an interventionist state…” – FT

  • Spending ‘marks a shift in Tory philosophy’ of slashing the size of the state, says key ally – Daily Mail


  • I fought Treasury for more cladding support, says Jenrick – The Times
  • Lenders raise UK mortgage rates as inflation fears take hold – FT


Budget Fallout 2) …or is he facing a ‘Tory backlash’ over ‘big state, high tax’ plans?

“Rishi Sunak is facing a budget backlash from traditional Tories, with five former cabinet ministers warning the scale of spending and taxes would stifle growth. The chancellor received a lukewarm reception from a string of Conservative grandees after his budget on Wednesday. They put him on notice that they would not put up with a “big state, high tax” situation for long. Sunak has always pitched himself as a fiscally hawkish Tory whose role model is the Thatcherite chancellor Nigel Lawson. He used the second half of his speech to promise backbenchers: “My goal is to reduce taxes.” But despite this promise, senior backbenchers have used two days of budget debates in the House of Commons to lay into him over the scale of public spending and taxes, arguing it was not a Conservative way to encourage growth.” – The Guardian

  • Tory party facing identity crisis, says Portillo – The Times
  • Budget blasted over ‘unfair’ council tax hike in Blue Wall – Daily Express


  • One in ten will be sucked into paying 40p income tax rate within five years – Daily Telegraph
  • We’ll soon be stumping up £1 trillion in tax – Daily Mail
  • Budget will leave millions worse off next year, studies find – FT


Budget Fallout 3) School cash injection risks being ‘eaten up’ by teachers’ salaries

“The new cash injection for schools risks being “eaten up” with paying teachers’ salaries, with a union boss warning that children “might not see anything at all”. The extra funding for schools, announced by the Chancellor this week, may need to be spent on teachers’ pay rises rather than pupils’ education, Paul Whiteman, the general secretary of National Association of Head Teachers, has warned. Teachers’ starting salaries are due to rise to £30,000 now that the public sector pay freeze has been lifted. Unions are concerned that so far no pot of funding has been provided to pay for this, meaning schools will be forced to dip into their existing budgets. “Our worry is that the Chancellor has announced some more money, but with increasing energy bills and the lifting of the teachers’ pay freeze, children might not see anything at all,” said Mr Whiteman.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Sunak’s learning catch-up fund is ‘false economy’, says former schools tsar – The Guardian
  • Budget fails to deliver ‘skills revolution’, say education leaders – FT

Budget Fallout 4) Sunak to reconsider UK beer tax cut after it excludes small producers

“The Treasury is reconsidering a limit to the size of beer barrels that will be included in a new tax cut after an embarrassing photo shoot in which Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak posed with kegs that were too small to classify for the relief. Since the chancellor announced in his Budget speech on Wednesday that draught beer served from containers of more than 40 litres would be subject to a 5 per cent tax cut from 2023, pub industry trade bodies have been lobbying the UK government to reduce the limit to 20 or 30 litres. They argue that leaving it at the larger size excludes the majority of craft brewers and hands a beneficial tax cut to multinational producers. “The 5 per cent draught beer relief is good but the clanger is the size of the container,” said James Calder, chief executive of trade body the Society of Independent Brewers, who pointed out the discrepancy with the barrels used in the ministers’ picture.” – FT

  • Rising costs ‘will wipe out booze price cut’ – Daily Mail

Budget Fallout 5) Households to pay extra £3,000 tax a year as NHS devours cash

“Taxes will rise by the equivalent of £3,000 per family after the budget heralded “the end of low-tax conservatism”, analysts claim. The Resolution Foundation, an independent think tank, said that Rishi Sunak was building an “NHS state” that took up most of the increased spending as the cuts of the past decade started to be reversed. The analysis found that only a third of the austerity reductions in public services funding per head would have been reversed by 2025. Torsten Bell, chief executive of the foundation, said the budget showed that the post-pandemic recovery would fulfil neither Boris Johnson’s goal of a high-wage economy nor Sunak’s ambition of a low-tax state… With the tax burden rising to 36.2 per cent of GDP by 2027, this is equivalent to an increase of £3,000 per household.” – The Times

  • Treasury resists calls for extra funding to boost NHS workforce – FT

Fraser Nelson: Tories have taken taxes to a 71 year high, and this could be just the start

“The most important promise that Rishi Sunak made this week was not in his Budget speech but in a private meeting with Tory MPs afterwards. He would not mince words, he told them: he has had enough of these tax rises. From now on, every extra pound “should be put into lowering people’s taxes, not more spending”. His fellow Tories cheered him on. “We want to believe him,” one of them said afterwards. “But we have no idea if we can.” These Conservatives had been cheering just as loudly earlier on as Sunak took taxes to a 71-year high and government spending to the highest level since the late 1970s. It was a bizarre spectacle: a party elected on a promise to protect the public from tax rises celebrating their inability to honour that pledge.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Why I believe this Budget means Johnson will go to the polls in less than two years – Simon Walters, Daily Mail
  • The class pay gap is the biggest obstacle to levelling up – Lee Cain MP, Times Red Box
  • Budget had no plan for growth or the cost of living – Rachel Reeves MP, FT
  • How you are funding the bill for Rishi Sunak’s big spend – Ruth Sunderland, Daily Mail

Plans for league tables and ‘shaming’ of surgeries dropped

“GPs have secured “significant concessions” from NHS England in an apparent climbdown over patient access and face-to-face appointments, the Guardian has been told. Family doctors in England have threatened industrial action in protest against the government’s attempt to force them to see any patient who demands an appointment in person. The British Medical Association (BMA) GPs committee voted unanimously to reject plans by the health secretary, Sajid Javid, which included “naming and shaming” surgeries that see too few patients in person, setting up what could be the first big clash between the medical profession and ministers in more than five years. However, in private talks to resolve the crisis on Wednesday evening, NHS England told the BMA there were no longer any plans to publish monthly “league table” data showing what proportion of surgery appointments occur in person or virtually, according to sources.” – The Guardian

  • …but officials deny cave-in to the unions – Daily Mail

>Today: Emma Mi in Comment: Throwing money at surgeries won’t solve the GP crisis. As an insider, here are my tips for the Government.

Electronic cigarettes could be prescribed on the NHS

“Electronic cigarettes could soon be prescribed on the NHS to help people to stop smoking in a world first, the government has announced. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has updated its guidance so that medically licensed vaping products can be prescribed to smokers who want to quit. E-cigarette manufacturers will be able to submit their products for the same regulatory approvals process as drug companies for use on the NHS in England. Britain will be the first country in the world to prescribe e-cigarettes licensed as a medical product. If a product receives MHRA approval, clinicians could then decide on a case-by-case basis whether it would be appropriate to give an e-cigarette prescription to an NHS patient to help them quit smoking.” – The Times

  • Javid backs ‘controversial plan’ to help smokers quit – Daily Mail
  • What are e-cigarettes and are they safe? – The Guardian

Johnson to haul in French ambassador for dressing down

“Boris Johnson will today haul in the French ambassador for a humiliating dressing down after France seized a UK scallop trawler in the Channel. Owners of the Cornelis Gert Jan said its furious crew were being used as pawns in Brexit fishing tensions. The vessel was detained overnight at Le Havre after authorities said it was fishing in French waters without a licence. The move led to an astonishing slanging match, with France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune blasting: “We need to speak the language of force because, unfortunately, that seems to be the only thing this British Government understands.” Last night Mr Johnson branded the action: “Simply not what we expect from a close ally and partner.”” – The Sun

  • Or should that say Truss? – Daily Mail
  • Prime Minister vows to hit back hard at France – The Sun

Urging change of gender to be criminalised

“Adults who try to persuade children to change their gender will face criminal sanctions under government plans. From next spring it will be illegal to convince someone to change their sexuality or gender identity, with extra safeguards to protect adolescents. Government sources suggested that organisations such as Mermaids, a charity that offers advice and counselling to children with gender dysphoria, could be outlawed. Trans rights groups said that the proposals risked having a “chilling effect” on free speech. Under the proposals, medical professionals such as psychiatrists and doctors will escape sanctions. Informal advice sought from family and friends will also not be criminalised.” – The Times

  • Trans-row professor quits university over ‘toxic’ environment – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Dr Sarah Ingham’s column: Is it too much to hope MPs can turn up for a debate on our civil liberties? Apparently so.

Rayner says sorry for Tory name-calling after email threats

“Angela Rayner has apologised unreservedly for calling Conservatives “scum”, saying she will not use similar language again after reflecting on the “threats and abuse” faced by politicians. Labour’s deputy leader was criticised for her description of the government during a reception at the Labour Party conference last month, when she said: “We cannot get any worse than a bunch of scum, homophobic, racist, misogynistic, absolute vile . . . banana republic, vile, nasty, Etonian . . . piece of scum.” Rayner initially defended her comments as being made in the “street language” of her northern working-class roots. However, in a statement issued on Facebook today she said she had had time to reflect because she has been away from parliament in recent weeks after the death of a “close loved one”.” – The Times

  • She says family has faced terrifying and explicit abuse – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Sunak’s new age fantasy and the great Tory con – Nick Cohen, The Spectator
  • Inside Insulate Britain – Aris Roussinos, UnHerd
  • Smoke and mirrors conceal the true costs of public sector pay – Annabel Denham, CapX
  • Turning victims into folk devils – Josephine Bartosch, The Critic

And finally… Westminster dog of year title goes to Amess’s French bulldog

“Less than two weeks after the murder of Sir David Amess, the Conservative MP for Southend West, his French bulldog, Vivienne, has been named Westminster dog of the year. Amess, who was stabbed to death while holding a constituency surgery, had nominated his pet for the title, saying she had a generous nature. “If I am feeling down, the dog lifts my spirits as she is always pleased to see me and she makes me smile,” his nomination said… The Dogs Trust, which runs the annual award celebrating the bond between parliamentarians and their pets with the Kennel Club, said Vivienne was a fitting winner “in memory of Sir David Amess, a devoted animal lover”. The three-year-old French bulldog had won the backing of both the judges and tens of thousands of members of the public after appeals on social media to pay tribute to the murdered MP by casting online votes.” – The Guardian