The Covid-19 recovery has cost the UK £407 billion, Rishi Sunak admitted today in his Budget speech. The Chancellor announced an additional £65 billion in spending on the recovery – extending furlough and other support for firms and workers through to September. He announced the creation of eight “free ports” – a scheme popular with Tory MPs to create “tax havens” within the UK. Duty on alcohol and fuel will both be frozen. And the minimum wage will increase by 19p an hour to £8.91 for over-23s. And he announced the creation of a Treasury branch office in Darlington – near to his own Richmond constituency. Describing the battering the economy had suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic, he said the forecasts show that this year the Government has borrowed a “record” £355 billion, the equivalent of 17% of the UK’s national income – and the highest figure since World War II. He told MPs: “Next year, as we continue our unprecedented response to this crisis, borrowing is forecast to be £234 billion, 10.3% of GDP – an amount so large it has only one rival in recent history – this year.” The Chancellor said the Covid-19 pandemic had fundamentally changed… Read full this story
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