Five things we learned from Rishi Sunak’s mini-Budget

The Canary

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has delivered his “summer economic update” to MPs.

Here’s what we learned:

– The scale of the economic hit could potentially be very large indeed

The chancellor said the economy had shrunk by 25% in two months as a result of the lockdown – the same amount it grew in the previous 18 years.

The Office for Budget Responsibility and the Bank of England were both warning of “significant job losses”.

– The cost of measures to protect jobs and businesses could rise to £30 billion

Up to £9.4 billion is available to pay firms £1,000 bonuses for each furloughed worker kept on.

Some £3.7 billion is available for the “Kickstart” scheme for 16 to 24-year-olds and measures to boost skills and apprenticeships.

The cost of slashing VAT from 20% to 5% from July 15 to January 12 could be £4.1 billion, while up to £500 million is available under the “eat out to help out” scheme, offering diners a discount in August.

Infrastructure spending announced by Boris Johnson last month adds £5.6 billion, while green measures add £3.1 billion.

The temporary stamp duty cut in England and Northern Ireland could cost the Exchequer £3.8 billion.

POLITICS Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

– Sunak will not let a good crisis go to waste

The chancellor said the government’s response is a question of “values” not just economics, telling MPs: “It is an unambiguous choice to make this moment meaningful for our country in a way that transcends the frustration and loss of recent months.

“It is a plan to turn our national recovery into millions of stories of personal renewal.”

– The chancellor is a bigger draw than the prime minister

It may be due to the scale of the economic crisis, or a reflection on Sunak’s rising status, but the Commons was as packed as social distancing rules allowed.

It was the best-attended event in the chamber since the lockdown, with a number of MPs using the galleries above the green benches to be able to hear directly from the chancellor.

– People are being encouraged to eat out, despite the prime minister’s drive to get the nation fit

In August, meals eaten at any participating business from Monday to Wednesday will be 50% off, up to a maximum discount of £10 per head for everyone, including children.

Johnson has said the UK is “significantly fatter” than most other European countries and “we will be happier and fitter and more resistant to diseases like Covid if we can tackle obesity”.

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