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Budget 2021: ‘Sunak’s spending spree’

“Every household in Britain is paying £3,000 more in taxes since Boris Johnson became prime minister, it emerged this morning, after Rishi Sunak used his budget to position the Tories as the “real party of public services”. In a gloomy analysis of yesterday’s budget the Resolution Foundation said real wages would fall next year and the UK was in the midst of its weakest decade for pay growth since the 1930s. It added that this came at a time when average taxes had significantly risen — to the highest level since Clement Attlee’s postwar Labour government of 1945-51. The move came as Sunak repudiated austerity and announced £150 billion extra cash for hospitals, schools and the justice system, with almost every department receiving large budget increases.” – The Times

  • Government spending hits levels not seen since 1970s – Daily Telegraph
  • Splurge of the century heralds end to Tory austerity – The Times
  • Chancellor promises to restore 0.7% overseas aid spending – FT
  • Surprise boost for Whitehall budgets won’t rectify austerity – The Guardian

More:

  • Sunak insists he has ‘greatest respect’ for the Commons after dressing down by fuming Speaker – The Guardian

>Today: Simon Clarke MP in Comment: Higher wages, higher skills and rising productivity – our Budget priorities

>Yesterday:

Chancellor sets out ‘moral’ mission to limit state and cut taxes…

“Rishi Sunak has claimed he is on a “moral” mission to cut taxes and halt the inexorable growth of the state but only after a Budget in which he set out plans for taxes to rise to their highest level in more than 70 years. The UK chancellor used his third Budget to pump more money into public services recovering from the Covid-19 crisis and protect them from rising inflation, increasing departmental budgets by 3 per cent a year in real terms over the next three years. But taxes are heading for the highest level since 1950 and the Conservative government plans to go to the next election in 2024-25 with public spending accounting for 2.5 per cent more of the economy than in 2019-20. Boris Johnson, prime minister, has insisted on higher spending to meet government promises to spread prosperity to “left-behind regions” and to boost productivity to deliver his promised “high-wage, high-skill economy”.” – FT

  • Sunak ‘limits spending to start building election war chest’ – The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: Oh Lord, make me a low-tax Conservative! But not yet.

…but Brits to be hit by ‘highest taxes in 70 years’

“Brits are to be clobbered by the highest taxes since just after World War Two to bankroll the massive spending splurge. And the cost of living could hit a 30-year high, the Treasury watchdog warned. The Office for Budget Responsibility said inflation could reach five per cent next year — the highest since 1992. In the bleakest scenario, it could soar to 5.4 per cent and send interest rates up. But Rishi Sunak dangled the prospect of tax cuts before the next election as he declared: “By the end of this Parliament, I want taxes to be going down not up.” Treasury insiders said the Chancellor wants to cut levies on working people before the election expected in 2024.” – The Sun

  • Household tax bills to rise on average by £3,000 by 2027, says thinktank – The Guardian
  • Economists warn costs for middle income households will soar – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Think Tanks: Autumn Budget 2021: Think tank response round-up

Change to universal credit will make work pay, Sunak claims

“Two million households will benefit from cutting a “hidden tax on work”, Rishi Sunak promised yesterday. A big cut to the rate at which universal credit is withdrawn as people earn more will cost taxpayers £2.2 billion but “make sure work pays”, the chancellor said. The biggest single spending announcement in yesterday’s budget was an 8p reduction to the taper rate of the benefit, in a symbolic reversal of one of George Osborne’s austerity policies. Critics said that the change would still leave millions worse off after Sunak withdrew the £20 a week pandemic uplift to universal credit last month. However, the chancellor argued that changing the taper rate was a better way of achieving the original aim of universal credit of encouraging claimants into work.” – The Times

Iain Duncan Smith: Osborne’s anti-work legacy has finally been banished

“There may be some, particularly among our party’s critics on the Left, who would find it strange for a Conservative to celebrate a hike in benefits. But that is to misunderstand the fundamentally conservative nature of what Universal Credit achieves. Yes, Mr Sunak will be spending more of the state’s money on welfare. But in practice this will operate not as an increase in benefits, but in effect as a tax cut for lower-paid workers, who thanks to the Chancellor will be 8 pence better off for every pound they earn. That is expected to leave two million working people £1,000 better off a year.” – Daily Telegraph

  • We are on a hazardous, high-spending journey – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail
  • Tories’ nightmare conversion to Brownism will end in catastrophe – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Daniel Hannan’s column: Where is the money coming from? The question that Conservatives don’t know how to answer.

Travel red list and hotel quarantine ‘set to be scrapped’

“The travel red list and hotel quarantine are set to be scrapped under plans, to be considered by ministers on Thursday, to ease restrictions in face of the declining Covid threat from abroad. Ministers will meet to consider removing the final seven countries from the red list. Any traveller returning from them is currently required to quarantine in a UK hotel for 10 days at a cost of £2,285 per person. Sources said it was “almost certain” that they would lift the restrictions on Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It is understood next week’s Cop26 global summit on climate change in Glasgow, which delegates from the seven countries are attending, is a factor. Ministers are also expected to consider a separate plan to scrap hotel quarantine, which even its pioneer, Australia, is abandoning in favour of vaccination as a defence against the importation of Covid.” – Daily Telegraph

  • BMA warns against ‘no jab, no job’ policy for NHS – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Forget Covid Plan A or Plan B. Let’s Plan British.

Environment 1) Government to invest £1.7bn in Sizewell C nuclear power station

“UK taxpayers will face a bill of up to £1.7bn to help get the planned Sizewell C nuclear power station project to a final investment decision in the next three years, as the government looks to reboot its struggling efforts to replace the nation’s ageing reactors. The funding was included in Wednesday’s Budget and follows an announcement by ministers this week of an overhaul of the financing model for new nuclear plants that will see households paying an upfront levy through their bills to help lower overall costs. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made it clear that nuclear energy must play a key part in reaching the UK’s net zero goals. Despite commitments by successive governments over the past decade to build a new generation of atomic power stations, most of the projects have collapsed as the private sector was unwilling to fund them.” – FT

  • Dozens of fossil fuel sites in pipeline – The Times

More:

  • Pilots’ union fury at Budget and Chancellor’s £91 tax on ultra-long-haul flights – Daily Mail
  • Scotland misses renewable heat target by half – Daily Telegraph

Environment 2) Eleventh-hour deal saves Cop26 summit from transport chaos

“The Cop26 summit narrowly avoided transport chaos last night after a rail union agreed an 11th-hour deal not to strike over the weekend. However, it still faces the prospect of hundreds of protesters being arrested with no lawyers to process them, after the decision by bar associations to boycott a duty solicitor scheme. The RMT union initially ignored a deadline yesterday to accept an enhanced pay deal forcing the rail operator to announce that from Monday it would be prioritising the route between Edinburgh and Glasgow and a shuttle service to the Glasgow campus where the summit is taking place. Thousands of delegates are due to be based outside Glasgow including in rural locations such as the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire.” – The Times

  • Drab Glasgow is a warning on levelling down – Iain Martin, The Times

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: COP26 is “is both unbelievably important… but also very difficult”, says Johnson at PMQs

I felt uncomfortable challenging Home Office culture, says Patel

“Priti Patel has revealed that she felt “uncomfortable” entering the Home Office as an ethnic minority minister as she pledged to root out the department’s “binary” culture. She said she had “challenged the culture” since being appointed home secretary in July 2019, shortly before a damning investigation into the Windrush scandal found evidence of “institutional racism” in the Home Office. In a barely disguised attack on Sir Philip Rutnam, the former permanent secretary at the Home Office, who quit last year over bullying allegations levelled at her, Patel said she had experienced “a lot of pushback”. Patel said the Home Office was one of several Whitehall departments that had become “institutionalised” in their “thinking and ways of working”. Too many departments had become “binary” and “silo-rised”, Patel added.” – The Times

  • Home Secretary ‘savages meddling civil servants as they plot to torpedo her masterplan’ – Daily Express

France seizes British trawler in deepening row over fishing rights

“France has detained one British trawler and fined the captain of another in a fresh escalation of the row over post-Brexit fishing rights. The French seas ministry said both boats were stopped while fishing in Baie de la Seine, near Caen, on Wednesday by a police patrol that is ‘part of tightening controls in the Channel in the context of discussions on licences’. The first boat did hold a licence to fish the waters, the ministry said, but the capital was fined for ‘obstruction’ after initially refusing to allow police to board his vessel. But the second boat, thought to be trawler Cornelis Gert Jan, was found to be fishing without a licence and was diverted to the port of Le Havre where it is now detained… Annick Girardin, the French seas minister, tweeted out the news Thursday morning before going on French radio where she spoke of being in ‘a fight’ with the UK.” – Daily Mail

  • Paris threatens to impose stricter customs checks on British goods from next week – FT
  • UK vows to retaliate if France blocks British fishermen – Daily Telegraph
  • Frost hits back at French fishing blackmail – Daily Express

Rayner bombarded with ‘death threats and abusive messages’

“Angela Rayner has been the victim of death threats and a string of “threatening and abusive” messages, it has been alleged. Police arrested a 52-year-old man on Wednesday morning at an address in Halifax after the Labour MP received several abusive phone calls, emails and letters over recent weeks. The Telegraph understands that Ms Rayner has also been the subject of death threats. Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said the man was arrested on suspicion of malicious communications and had since been released on bail pending further enquiries. The force said that his arrest related to abusive phone calls received on 15 October.  A spokesman for Ms Rayner confirmed on Wednesday that the Labour MP for Ashton-under-Lyne, her staff and her family were on the receiving end of a number of “malicious” communications.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Man arrested on suspicion of making threats – The Guardian