Daily Express

Bold Budget builds on a vision of brighter future for the whole of Britain


WE were promised “the people’s Budget” and that is exactly what we got. Just one month into his job as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak had all the confidence, aplomb and energy of a man who may one day succeed Boris Johnson as Prime Minister as he delivered one of the most challengin­g Budgets since the financial crash more than a decade ago.

What we got was the unusual sight of a newly elected government delivering on its manifesto promises and not using events as an excuse to break them.

It was not as if Mr Sunak did not have an excuse handed to him. The World Health Organisati­on announceme­nt that this is now a pandemic has simply underlined that this is a global crisis which will cost lives and cause a short sharp economic shock.

But in his Budget, Mr Sunak laid to rest the false notion that the Conservati­ves are the nasty party or are uncaring.

This was a Budget which ensured the Government will have everybody’s back in a medical crisis without modern precedent, whether you are employed, retired, on benefits or self employed the Government will stand by you.

It was exactly what worried people in the country needed to hear as was the commitment to spend what is necessary on the NHS to get us through these dark days.

But Mr Sunak’s first Budget was about far more than just tackling an immediate crisis.

His positivity set the tone for an optimistic vision of Brexit Britain.

He was enacting Mr Johnson’s vision of levelling up opportunit­y in this country, of investing in the communitie­s left to go to waste by Labour, of boosting entreprene­urship and innovation and injecting money into the economy.

The tax cut on national insurance is money in the pockets of 35 million people and we can all raise a glass to Mr Sunak for freezing alcohol duty in all categories.

He was right too not to be lured by the climate change fanatics into raising that most pernicious of taxes by unfreezing fuel duty which would hurt families.

Such a move can be contemplat­ed when there are real alternativ­es for many in terms of proper public transport and affordable electric cars. The tax relief for small businesses, pubs and high streets will give many the help they need and the £ 640billion on infrastruc­ture – roads, rail and broadband – will set this country up to compete with the rest of the world.

Even without coronaviru­s this was not a Budget for the faint hearted.

With Brexit we needed a government and Chancellor ready to embrace opportunit­ies and be bold. Mr Sunak proved to be the man of the hour yesterday and set this country on the path for a bright future.

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