Monday 24 February 2020

Blowing the Budget?

The Resolution Foundation's pre-Budget report

The first Budget of a new parliament is always important as it frames the government’s economic agenda for the rest of the term. And the upcoming Budget is set to be big not just in political strategy terms, but in hard cash too – with £100bn of new capital spending expected to support the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.

But tackling geographic inequalities requires more than new roads, rail lines and hospital wards. Day-to-day public service spending matters too. The fiscal rules set out in the Conservative Manifesto would leave the new Chancellor Rishi Sunak with little room for manoeuvre – should he choose to stick to them.

How can the upcoming Budget balance ‘levelling up’ with ‘fiscal responsibility’? Are big tax cuts off the menu, and might tax rises be back on it? And what are the big economic questions facing Britain that the new Chancellor should be answering?

At an event at its Westminster offices, the Resolution Foundation presented the key highlights from its pre-Budget report. A panel of experts discussed the wider economic context to the Budget, the options available to the Chancellor, and what he should – and shouldn’t – announce.