Having delivered all of his fiscal statements to date against a backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chancellor Rishi Sunak was hoping today would be the first opportunity of his still-young chancellorship to make his mark on the British economy. With the cost-of-living at the front of voters’ minds, Sunak had to balance a worsening economic backdrop with MPs from all sides’ demands for a more interventionist approach.
Eye-catching announcements on raising the National Insurance threshold to £12,570 to match the Income Tax band, as well as cuts to fuel duty and Income Tax (that will come into force in April 2024) will boost Sunak’s ambition to be a ‘tax cutting Chancellor’. But overall the statement was a cautious one, showing the Conservatives doubling down on their orthodoxy for fiscal responsibility. As prices continue to rise, however, Sunak may have to revisit his support measures and funding for new energy development, especially once the energy price cap rise kicks in from next month.
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