Fireworks offstage as Sunak stands guard on public purse

Asia's Tech News Daily

Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

With less than a fortnight to go before Rishi Sunak’s budget, the message from the Treasury is, “don’t expect fireworks”. There have been pyrotechnics aplenty offstage, however, as the chancellor tries to hold the line against big-spending colleagues – not least the prime minister himself.

After a spat with Kwasi Kwarteng burst into the open last weekend over backing for businesses hit by the energy crisis, with a Treasury source effectively accusing the business secretary of lying, Boris Johnson weighed in on Kwarteng’s side from his Marbella bolthole.

While this was an unusually public row – and remains unresolved, with Treasury officials still casting a sceptical eye over bailout plans – senior Tories say it reflects continuing tension between Sunak and Johnson.

While Johnson tends to look to solve short-term political problems by splashing the cash, colleagues say Sunak sees himself as the guardian of the public purse – and has become increasingly concerned about the risks of inflation.

“Boris is fundamentally totally a political animal – that’s just what he is. Rishi is very diligent, incredibly hard-working, and he takes his role very, very seriously; and he looks at the current conditions, and he knows there are going to be difficult choices to make,” said one senior Conservative who knows both men well.

“There’s a frustration from him [Sunak] and more broadly in the Treasury that the rest of the cabinet have more of a ‘just keep spending and borrowing’ attitude, and he knows that is not sustainable.”

Colleagues say the two men get on well – one described their relationship as a “tag team”. But there are two overlapping factors driving tensions between them: different economic priorities and a different political endgame.

While Johnson repeatedly highlighted his desire to create a “high-wage, high-skill economy” at the Conservatives’ conference, Sunak has pointed to the risks of inflation if wage rises run ahead of productivity as the economy recovers.

Allies are clear that he sees higher wages as the outcome of decisions to invest more in skills and technology, not a quick fix. “I think what the prime minister was doing was stating an ambition and a vision – and sometimes in order to get the vision across it has to be very simple,” said one.

And while Sunak willingly signed off on unprecedented spending during the pandemic, including the extraordinary furlough scheme, which saw the state paying millions of workers’ wages, he has made clear he now wants the government to restore financial discipline.

He is a fiscal conservative not just because that is the chancellor’s role and his own political gut instinct, but also because that is what the Conservative party base wants to see and hear.

Few at Westminster doubt that the multimillionaire former hedge fund manager came into politics with the hope of being prime minister.

His personal brand is carefully burnished by a special adviser, Cass Horowitz, who helps with his slick social media output, including a recent video with a dramatic orchestral soundtrack hailing the success of the furlough scheme.

Yet Sunak’s popularity among the Tory grassroots has recently been eclipsed by that of the new foreign secretary, Liz Truss, whom some believe Johnson deliberately promoted as a rival.

The chancellor slipped from second place to fifth in the latest monthly poll by the website ConservativeHome of Conservative members – who will ultimately decide who succeeds Johnson.

That still put him a full 21 places ahead of the prime minister, but the slide could reflect Sunak’s role in signing off the increase in national insurance contributions announced last month.

Certainly he felt the need to stress at the party’s conference, among grumbles from members and MPs, that he still believed in low taxes – but not before insisting the public finances must be put on a sustainable footing.

The backbencher Steve Baker complained at the time the government was, “grinding miserably forward, doing Ed Miliband’s Labour policies. We’re hating every minute and trying to claim it’s Conservatism.”

At September’s Downing Street press conference to announce the historic national insurance contributions rise, Sunak’s body language was markedly less comfortable than that of Johnson and the health secretary, Sajid Javid.

Allies later confirmed that he would have preferred not to be increasing taxes at all but as Johnson’s chancellor, was yoked to the prime minister’s personal promise of “fixing” social care.

On other recent spending decisions, including overseas aid cuts and the £20-a-week reduction in universal credit, Sunak has asserted himself, in the face of profound concerns among colleagues at the consequences of his tough approach.

But he was evidently irked by Kwarteng’s plea for more cash for crisis-struck firms, and government insiders say he is also resisting a fresh splurge on preparing the UK for the transition to net zero, before the Cop26 summit.

Some are beginning to wonder how many times Sunak will be able to stomach being hauled towards more spending by Johnson, who is overwhelmingly focused on winning re-election, whatever the fiscal cost.

The prime minister reportedly mused about moving Sunak aside after the pair clashed back in the summer. But he would be a formidable backbench critic – and Johnson has already lost one chancellor, when Javid resigned last year rather than accept sharing his advisers with No 10.

An ally of Johnson said of the chancellor: “He’s very supportive of the prime minister and he’s a team player, but I think they both have very very frank conversations in private. Rishi’s no shrinking violet; he says his piece.”

Stewart Wood, a veteran of the Tony Blair-Gordon Brown governments says the tensions between Johnson and Sunak are familiar, but the chancellor will have to decide what he stands for. “The classic Treasury-No 10 dynamic is, No 10 have lots of things that they want to do that cost money, the Treasury says we can’t afford it.”

With Blair and Brown it was different, he says, because Brown not only saw himself as guardian of the purse-strings, but had a vision about how the money should be spent that clashed with the prime minister’s.

“He had other priorities. He said no in the name of some sort of agenda,” Lord Wood said. If Sunak saw himself as a future Tory leader, he suggested, he would need more to say than no. “He’s got to have an alternative. What does Rishi Sunak bring to the party?”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Pelosi to act against Republican for Islamophobic remarks: Omar

© US Representative Ilhan Omar set off a firestorm in Congress with a fair but pointed question about … Boebert described Omar, a Somali-born Muslim, as a member of a ... Read more »

Trump warns Biden could bring the country to the point of no return in interview promoting his picture book and ex-president puts out ad declaring: 'Joe Biden Stole Christmas'

After the interview Trump released a 32-second ad attacking Joe Biden over the supply chain crisis and calling it the president's 'nightmare before Christmas'He claimed both Obama and Biden have been divisive presidents but nobody said so about Trump's predecessor because critics 'didn't want to insult him'Trump has been on Fox News promoting his new book Our Journey Together Read more »

Commuter chaos expected across Sydney as bus and train drivers go on strike over pay equality – and the standoff could last for DAYS

Bus drivers across Sydney are holding a strike as part of ongoing pay dispute  Rail, Tram and Bus Union members in Sydney also refusing to run some trainsTrains and buses across Sydney expected to be affected from Monday morning  Read more »

Tom Thibodeau takes apparent shot at RJ Barrett over shooting woes

During the preseason and early in the regular season, Tom Thibodeau couldn’t say enough about RJ Barrett’s work ethic and how diligent he come back at night to the Tarrytown ... Read more »

NYC driver killed after crashing ‘headlong' into MTA bus

According to police, a medical examiner will examine the body to discover the cause of death. Dakota Santiago/FNTV A 40-year-old man was killed when he drove “headlong” into an MTA ... Read more »

Michael Buble: Hannah Waddingham is the 'spirit of Christmas'

© Bang Showbiz Michael Buble is ‘good friends’ with Hannah Waddingham Michael Buble believes Hannah Waddingham is the “spirit of Christmas”. The 46-year-old singer became “instant friends” with the ‘Ted ... Read more »

Mark Hoppus announced cancer diagnosis by accident

© Provided by Cover Media Mark Hoppus Mark Hoppus announced his cancer diagnosis on social media by accident. Back in June, the Blink-182 rocker posted a photo of himself sitting ... Read more »

Monster stepmum Emma Tustin ‘poisoned with salt by cellmates' in revenge for torturing tragic Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, 6

MONSTER stepmum Emma Tustin was poisoned with salt by her cellmates in revenge for torturing tragic Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, it has been claimed. The 32-year-old was caged for life with a ... Read more »

Macron challenger Eric Zemmour put in a headlock as supporters clash with anti-racists at his first campaign rally

THE far-Right firebrand hoping to become France’s next President was physically attacked at his first campaign rally in Paris today. Eric Zemmour, 63, was placed in a headlock by an ... Read more »

Update: More than 120 people infected with corona after the Christmas dinner party at Aker Brygge in Oslo

More than 120 people have now been confirmed as infected with coronavirus in connection with the outbreak at the Louise restaurant at Aker Brygge in Oslo. Assistant district chief medical ... Read more »

Lewis Hamilton takes F1 title race to final round with dramatic victory in Saudi Arabia

Lewis Hamilton has kept his hopes of a record eighth Formula One title alive by winning the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, taking the championship battle to the final race of ... Read more »

Pro-Palestinian New Jersey Democrat is duped by fake rabbi's parody Twitter account

The campaign for Imani Oakley, a New Jersey Democratic candidate running for Congress, was duped into almost planning a fundraiser with a nonexistent rabbi Marita Lockhart, was in talks with a parody Twitter account named Rabbi Linda GoldsteinThe account is managed by a New York City lawyer who often posts shocking and satirical tweets mocking anti-Israel sentiments'I am making fun of the five percent of Jews that hate Israel,' he said. 'I created this personality that shows how reductive and absurd these people are'In exchanged emails, Rabbi Linda asks Oakley if she could travel to the Gaza strip to meet 'several influential Jewish-Americans' who can help her winOakley is set to race for a seat in Congress against fellow Democrat Donald Payne Jr, 62, who has been in the role since 2012 Read more »

How dual loyalties created an ethics problem for Chris Cuomo and CNN

Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, left, and his brother, former CNN anchor, Chris Cuomo. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor of Andrew M. Cuomo via AP, left, and Evan Agostini/Invision/AP CNN ... Read more »

7 pilgrims killed as car catches fire after crash

© Provided by The Times of India TIRUPATI: Seven people, including an infant, were killed after a car they were travelling in caught fire after hitting a culvert at Ithepalli ... Read more »

Current Congress brass sees advice as rebellion: Ghulam Nabi Azad

© Provided by The Times of India NEW DELHI: The present generation of Congress is not open to suggestions, veteran Congress leader and member of the G-23 faction Ghulam Nabi ... Read more »

Australia news updates live: bus and train drivers strike in NSW, flood warnings for parts of Queensland

LIVE – Updated at 20:40 Follow all the day’s news.   20:40 As you might have heard, children aged 5-11 now have TGA approval to be vaccinated with the Pfizer ... Read more »

Formula One: Lewis Hamilton and Lewis Hamilton tied going into final Grand Prix after drama in Jeddah

Lewis Hamilton took an incredible victory in an action-packed inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to draw level with Max Verstappen in the world championship standings heading into next weekend’s final ... Read more »

Fred gives verdict on 'magical' goalscoring start to Ralf Rangnick's Manchester United reign

Fred described Manchester United’s win over Crystal Palace as “magical” after scoring the winner on a standout day at Old Trafford. The midfielder struck with less than 15 minutes to ... Read more »

Robi Domingo lives by his mantra: "Kapamilya forever"

© Provided by PEP.ph Mr. Nice Guy ang dating ni Robi Domingo mula pa noong naging runner-up siya kay Ejay Falcon sa PBB: Teen Edition Plus (Marso-Hunyo 2008). Marunong siyang ... Read more »

"From what I'm hearing": Journalist drops major update on AVFC's January transfer plans

Aston Villa are looking to strengthen two key positions in January, according to journalist Pete O’Rourke.  © GiveMeSport Steven Gerrard celebrates winning at Aston Villa He’s claimed the Midlands side ... Read more »

Lionel Messi 'ordered to demolish' luxury Barcelona hotel after £26m oversight

Lionel Messi ‘s record-breaking week has seemingly ended on a sour and extremely costly note. The 34-year-old picked up a seventh Ballon d’Or award in Paris on Monday, although he ... Read more »

3 free agents that Sunderland could turn to amid mounting injury list

© Provided by Football League World Lee Johnson Sunderland have only won two of their last seven League One matches and their most recent result was a 1-1 draw this ... Read more »

Journalist drops pre-Jan THFC claim on Toure-esque £49.5m-rated ace "Conte particularly likes"

Journalist Paul Brown believes Antonio Conte particularly likes Franck Kessie and bringing the AC Milan star to Tottenham would give Spurs a bit more dynamism in midfield. © GiveMeSport Tottenham ... Read more »

Lewis Hamilton Wins Controversy-Filled Saudi Arabian GP

Today’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix featured two red flags, three virtual safety cars, three standing starts, no tactically-relevant pit stops under green, and three separate incidents under review between our ... Read more »

Children on the frontline of the climate crisis

Mara, 9, standing on a fishing farm platform on Tonlé Sap lake in Cambodia (Lim Sokchanlina/Save the Children) Children born over the past year are estimated to face seven times ... Read more »

Top doctor warns Mark McGowan to delay opening Western Australia's border even LONGER until children as young as five are vaccinated - despite 77 per cent of population being jabbed

Top doctor urged Western Australia to delay reopening its state borders in 2022Mark Duncan-Smith said children between five and 11 should be vaccinated firstState intends to open when 90 per cent of residents double-jabbed in JanuaryDr Duncan-Smith wants the vaccination target to now include children  Read more »

A royally fun day out! Zara and Mike Tindall wrap up warm as they join Peter Phillips at Legoland's Christmas winter wonderland

Queen's granddaughter Zara Tindall, 40, joined husband Mike for outing today Her brother Peter Phillips joined the couple for day out at Legoland in Windsor Appeared in high spirits posing in front of the tree before enjoying family timeJoined celebs including Olympic diving champion Tom Daley at Windsor Resort Read more »

Mo Salah makes confident Ballon d'Or claim and "best player in the world" declaration

Mohamed Salah has claimed that he will have “no problem” if he does not win a Ballon d’Or during his career despite declaring that he is the “best player in ... Read more »

Tiger Woods rocks Sunday red while practicing at Hero World Challenge

He wasn’t in the field competing on Sunday, but that didn’t stop tournament host Tiger Woods from rocking his famous Sunday red while practicing during the final round of the ... Read more »

"From what I'm hearing": Journalist drops big Leeds transfer update ahead of January

Leeds United might bring in a No.6 style midfielder in January, according to journalist Pete O’Rourke.  © GiveMeSport Marcelo Bielsa is expected to sign a midfielder in January The Whites ... Read more »

Starke Gut-Behrami verpasst Sieg im Super-G nur knapp – Goggia schafft Lake-Louise-Triple

© keystone Teaserbild © keystone Trotz ihrer Erkältung konnte Lara Gut-Behrami in ihrer Spezialdisziplin überzeugen. Sofia Goggia feiert beim Speed-Auftakt der Frauen in Lake Louise einen totalen Triumph. Nach den ... Read more »

Die Sport-Schweiz nach den Corona-Verschärfungen: «Es darf nicht wieder zu Geisterspielen kommen!»

© keystone-sda.ch «Es darf nicht wieder zu Geisterspielen kommen!» Der Corona-Hammer trifft letzte Woche den deutschen Sport mit voller Wucht. Einige Bundesländer wie Baden-Württemberg verordnen wieder Geisterspiele, andere legen den ... Read more »

Schweiz gewinnt Schlüsselspiel gegen Tschechien

© KEYSTONE/Fabian Trees Die Schweizer Unihockey-Nationalmannschaft der Männer gewinnt an der WM in Helsinki auch das zweite Spiel. Einen Tag nach dem 7:5 gegen Norwegen setzte sich das Team von ... Read more »

Police conducting arson, suspicious death investigation on Eastern Shore after fire leaves man dead

A man was found dead inside a home that was on fire Saturday night on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The New Church Fire Department in Accomack County asked state police to ... Read more »

Fauci: U.S. reviewing its South African travel ban and hopes to lift it soon

President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, said Sunday that the U.S. is reviewing its travel ban on South Africa and other African countries daily and hopes to lift ... Read more »

Police pursuit in Newport News goes eastbound on I-64, then westbound before Portsmouth woman's arrest

A Portsmouth woman was charged with several felonies and driving under the influence after a police pursuit Friday night. State police say dispatchers received several calls around 11 p.m. reporting ... Read more »

Lewis Hamilton ‘confused' by Max Verstappen's actions in Saudi Arabian Grand Prix collision

Lewis Hamilton said he was left “confused” by Max Verstappen’s driving which led to the F1 title rivals colliding during a chaotic Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday. After Verstappen ... Read more »

Coronation Street legend Roy Cropper will make shock Christmas comeback just weeks after exit

CORONATION Street’s Roy Cropper will make a Christmas comeback — despite fans fearing he had left for good. The Roy’s Rolls boss was last seen heading to South America, after ... Read more »

Tilly Ramsay's dance partner in hot water with girlfriend after he hasn't been home to see her amid romance rumours

STRICTLY newcomer Nikita Kuzmin could be in trouble with his girlfriend — as he has yet to return home. His dancer partner Nicole Wirt is in her native Germany and ... Read more »

Strictly results: Dan Walker is latest contestant to be eliminated

© Provided by The Independent Dan Walker is the latest contestant to be eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing, after narrowly missing out on a spot in the semi-final. On Saturday ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic