Inside Westminster

Rishi Sunak’s Budget will squeeze public spending – can he get away with it?

The Treasury is in the ascendancy for now – but the prime minister might end up siding with other ministers in his cabinet over spending, writes Andrew Grice

Friday 22 October 2021 16:26
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<p>‘The chancellor has taken a tough line with cabinet ministers in the government-wide spending review’ </p>

‘The chancellor has taken a tough line with cabinet ministers in the government-wide spending review’

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The Conservatives have lost one of their two selling points on the economy – being the low-tax party – after announcing a tax rise to fund health and social care. So Rishi Sunak is determined to use next Wednesday’s Budget to safeguard the second one – fiscal responsibility.

The chancellor has taken a tough line with cabinet ministers in the government-wide spending review, including those who moved to new roles in last month’s reshuffle and promptly demanded more money than their predecessors had got.

Sunak will announce new fiscal rules to ensure that day-to-day spending on public services is not funded by borrowing in a few years’ time as he tries to draw a line under his £407bn splurge during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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