In this year’s Autumn Budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak promised a ‘new, post-Covid’ economy. This was the second Budget of 2021, following on from March’s Spring Budget that took place at the height of the pandemic’s second wave.
Sunak’s so-called ‘Age of Optimism’ Budget outlined a three-year plan for funding vital public services following almost 20 months of pandemic interventions. In the Chancellor’s words, the Government’s infrastructure revolution ‘connects our country, drives productivity and levels [regions] up.’
However, with an expected deficit of £2.2tn deficit facing the nation, the highest since the Second World War, today’s Budget and accompanying Spending Review needed to instill confidence in the Chancellor and the Treasury’s economic competence. Pressures on the Government have increased due to a combination of local labour shortages, supply chain crunches and record energy prices now creating persistent inflationary pressures. The much-repeated Levelling Up agenda underpinning today’s announcements will need to happen fast to satisfy a public facing a cost-of-living crisis.
“Infrastructure connects our country, drives productivity and levels up.” – Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak