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Budget 2021: Sunak unleashes spending spree partly funded by higher taxes


Rishi’s big budget giveaway – cheaper sparkling wine, business tax cuts and a public spending bonanza.

Or is it?

The chancellor hailed what he called the “age of optimism”, seizing his chance to raid a public purse less battered by the pandemic than expected, promising a stronger economy, with more spending now and the prospect of tax cuts later.

Labour accused him of living in a “parallel universe”.

So let’s take a look at the main points of today’s budget: real-terms spending increases for every government department, softening the blow of the universal credit cut by enabling claimants in work to keep more of what they earn, and simplifying the system of alcohol duty, with higher duties for higher-strength drinks.

But there was little reference to tackling climate change and a cut to air passenger duty for flights within the UK.