Budget 2021: Five burning issues Rishi Sunak missed out

Asia's Tech News Daily

It is not up to chancellors to deal with every problem facing the UK in the Budget.

But there were several issues on which action may have been expected where Rishi Sunak fell short on Wednesday.

Here they are:

Rising energy bills

There were strong rumours that the Chancellor would take action to help people with energy bills as soaring gas prices threaten significant hikes from April, when the current price cap expires.

But Mr Sunak did not follow through on speculation he could use post-Brexit freedoms to cut VAT on energy bills, and did not offer any specific help with prices.

Climate change

There was not a single mention of the word “climate” in Mr Sunak’s speech despite it coming on the eve of the crucial Cop26 summit in Glasgow.

His decision to cut air passenger duty on domestic flights and freeze fuel duty left many questioning Mr Sunak’s commitment to tackling climate change, and may make life harder for Boris Johnson as he tries to twist arms at next week’s summit.

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Help for energy-intensive industries

It’s been weeks since Mr Sunak’s extraordinary public spat with Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng over a potential bailout for energy intensive industries including producers of steel, glass, ceramics and paper.

There have now been weeks of warnings that factories could be forced to close due to sky-high gas prices.

But a package of support proposed by Mr Kwarteng is still sitting on the Chancellor’s desk without a decision.

Rail upgrades

Final plans to deliver high speed rail including HS2 and the new Northern Powerhouse Rail were expected to arrive alongside the Budget.

But, as i revealed last week, the integrated rail plan has been delayed as Boris Johnson is demanding more cash from Mr Sunak.

Major tax cuts

In a bid to reassure his backbenchers Mr Sunak insisted that his “goal is to reduce taxes”, but there was little in the way of traditional Tory tax cuts in this Budget.

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