R.Ishi Sunak’s budget contained more surprises than economists expected, despite a multitude of measures being announced in advance.
A stronger-than-hoped recovery from the pandemic’s onslaught on the economy increased the chancellor’s borrowing under his new budget rules, which meant he could afford to pull some rabbits off his sliders.
When the UK’s largest economic think tanks began to work out the key numbers, their early assessment was clear: this was not an austerity budget, but neither was it a huge fiscal boost. Difficulties are also ahead as real wage growth will be eaten up by higher inflation. And this very high-tax chancellor will find it difficult to sell himself as a traditional fiscal conservative for the time being.