Budget 2021: Laura Kuenssberg's analyses Rishi Sunak's plans
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The Chancellor boosted public spending and took immediate action to address the cost of living, detailing huge increases in departmental spending and help for those on lower incomes. He promised a big jump in budgets for Whitehall and tax reductions for businesses, as well as significant investment to create a “new economy” based on high skills and wages. But this will be in addition to previously-announced increases in corporate and personal taxation.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) warned this would leave the overall tax burden at its highest since 1950, when Clement Attlee’s post-war administration was entering its final period.
The OBR also warned CPI inflation could jump to 4.4 percent but could go further and hit “the highest rate seen in the UK for three decades”.
Britain’s economy is forecast to grow 6.5 percent this year instead of the initial projection of four expected in March.
But in a new warning Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Bow Group think tank, told Express.co.uk: “The Chancellor has raised the tax burden to the highest level since World War 2, and the Resolution Foundation believes the Chancellor’s fiscal policies will cost the average family £3,000 a year.
“We believe this is a very conservative estimate because the average family is facing not only tax hikes, but also rising inflation, the immense cost of the Government’s pointless green policies and a level of national debt which presents a real risk of a debt crisis, recession, and yet further tax rises.
“The ultimate result is that standard of living in the UK is in freefall, and people are going to feel a lot poorer in real terms.”
He warned: “Labour have not been in power for 11 years, so these problems cannot be blamed on other parties or even the pandemic.
“They are the result of the policy decisions of the Conservative Government over 11 years.
“Britain is in decline. We encourage remaining conservatives in the Conservative Party to wake up to this reality and pressure the Government to change course.”
Mr Harris-Quinney has said the Government is “spending well beyond its means” – despite public debt tripling since the Conservatives campaigned on the basis of fixing public finances more than a decade ago.
The politics expert warned “sooner or later the British public will have to pay” for the Government’s huge spending pledges, claiming that despite the Chancellor aiming to lower taxes, the level of spending over the long-term is “totally unsustainable”.
He said: “The Conservatives campaigned in 2010 on the basis of sorting out public finances, since then they have tripled the national debt, and the government’s proposed net-zero targets will be the most expensive policy enacted in history.
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“The long term cost to our economy of the government’s green policies is likely to be tens of trillions, but may even exceed that.
“Even with the highest taxation levels in 70 years, the Government is still spending way beyond its means, and sooner or later the British public will have to pay for it.
“Mr Sunak talks about an aspiration to lower taxes in the future, but the level of spending the government is committed to for the long term is totally unsustainable.
“The Chancellor’s only future options are to pay for that spending with yet more tax hikes, yet more debt, or to make cuts to spending that have never been seen before.”
In a final warning, Mr Harris-Quinney claimed the UK’s debt ratio is in a worse position than Greece found itself in before the disastrous economic crisis in 2008.
He believes another recession is “certain” and could push Britain to a debt crisis and economic decline it may never recover from.
The political expert concluded: “Our debt to GDP ratio is at 104 percent and rising, that is a worse position than Greece was prior to the 2008 economic crisis.
“If there is another recession, which is almost certain, Britain faces a debt crisis and the real possibility of an economic decline it will never recover from as we slip ever further down the order of the world’s wealthiest nations.
“The Government’s high tax higher spend policies run a real risk of bankrupting Britain.”
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