Rishi Sunak’s Budget branded ‘underwhelming’ as Chancellor comes under pressure

Budget 2021: Tom takes aim at Sunak's personality traits

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The Chancellor of the Exchequer is already coming under fire after announcing his Budget yesterday. The Labour Party’s Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, has claimed the new economic plan will “hammer” working people. She said: “Revelations from yesterday’s budget that taxes will be £3,000 more per household than when Boris Johnson became prime minister are staggering. “This is a budget hammering working people, while giving banks a tax cut.

“The Tories have no plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, no plan to shift the unfair taxes they’ve hit working people with and no plan for growth.”

Mr Sunak announced increased funding in a number of areas.

Whitehall departments will see a rise in overall spending worth £150billion, and a Levelling Up Fund will mean £1.7billion invested in local areas across the UK.

There will also be an extra £2.2billion for courts, prisons and probation services, as well as £6billion of funding to help tackle NHS backlogs.

The Chancellor also set aside £7billion for transport projects across the country.

Nimesh Shah, CEO of Blick Rothernberg, told Express.co.uk that Mr Sunak’s Budget lacks substance overall.

The expert said that while ambitious spending plans have been laid out, previous tax hikes and allowance freezes mean many will still be left feeling the financial pain.

He said: “It was a well rehearsed speech, we saw that from the pictures the day before. But it was actually quite underwhelming.

“It was a lot of words, a lot of numbers. But it was a Budget without a lot of substance behind it.

“The headline, really, was what wasn’t in that Budget. The bad news had already happened with the freezing of allowances in March and the health and social care levy being introduced.

“That’s going to hurt working families. He talked about this being a Budget for working families,. There were some limited changes to Universal Credit, there was a freeze on fuel duty.

“Inflationary pressures and the increase in interest rates are around the corner, there’s a lot for hard-working families to think about.”

In September, the Government revealed the bad news for many taxpayers across the country that National Insurance will be increased from 12 percent to 13.25 percent.

The health and social care levy was brought in to try and reduce the NHS backlog, and will also fund social care reform.

Economist at the free-market Institute of Economic Affairs, Julian Jessop, told Express.co.uk in September that there is no guarantee the plan will actually work.

He said: “It’s a tax increase for a start, you have to question whether you needed to raise taxes in the first place.

“But also, the money doesn’t look like it’s going to be well spent, so it doesn’t even look like it’s going to achieve the aim of improving health and social care.

“I think it’s a missed opportunity to have a fundamental rethink about social care and tax. Instead, they have gone for a short term fix that actually may end up fixing nothing at all.

“There’s actually not going to be money for social care for several years, initially the money is going to be used to solve the backlog in the NHS.

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“In the longer run, there’s no actual guarantee that this money will go to social care because, although they say it’s going to be ring-fenced, why would you necessarily believe a Government that’s just broken so many manifesto promises in a single day.”

Chancellor Sunak stood by his Budget in the Commons yesterday.

He told MPs: “Employment is up. Investment is growing. Public services are improving. The public finances are stabilising. And wages are rising.

“Today’s Budget delivers a stronger economy for the British people: stronger growth, with the UK recovering faster than our major competitors.”

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