Politics latest news: Budget marks 'philosophical shift' in Conservatism, says Treasury minister

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  • The drinks are on me, declares Rishi Sunak 
  • Pubs toast ‘draught relief’ in alcohol duty shakeup
  •  Two million to gain £1,000 a year 
  • Allister Heath: The catastrophic move to Brownism

The Budget has marked a “philosophical shift” in Conservatism, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury has said, after Rishi Sunak opened the doors to taxes and spending rising the highest level since the 1950s.

Yesterday the Chancellor told MPs that there should be “limits” to the Government – but went onto confirm real-terms rise in spend for every government department, worth £150bn over three years.

He later told a meeting of backbench Conservative MPs hat “in the future every marginal pound should be put into lowering taxes”, and this morning told Sky News: “My ambition is to lower taxes, that is what I would like to do as Chancellor… and I was delighted to start that yesterday.”

However Simon Clarke, his junior minister, told BBC Newsnight: “The Chancellor was very open about the fact that this is something of a philosophical shift.

“What we want to see is to get the economy turbocharged, unlock productivity, and to deliver growth more evenly across UK. That does require some upfront spending.”

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07:12 AM

Chancellor defends cut on ‘unfair and silly’ champagne duty

Rishi Sunak defended his decision to cut the “unfair and silly” duty on champagne, after Labour criticised the move yesterday.

Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, claimed that only “bankers on short-haul flights sipping champagne will be cheering” the Budget.

Asked about her comments, the Chancellor told Sky News: “I am not going to make any apologies for that, we have an irrational system.

“It is going to be simpler, healthier… I know many people who enjoy a bottle of sparkling wine… The price of those bottles will come down by about 87p.”

It was a “completely irrational duty premium – they are no more alcoholic than still wine,” he added.

07:10 AM

Claiming I can control inflation would be ‘irresponsible’, admits Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak has said it would be “irresponsible” to suggest he could tackle inflationary issues, amid fears that rising prices could spiral.

Speaking the day after delivering the Budget, the Chancellor stressed that the main causes were global supply chains and the wholesale cost of energy – issues he has no control over. 

But he insisted that things like freezing fuel duty and raising the national living wage would help people navigate the cost of living crisis.

“Inflation is one of the challenges I have to grapple with.. [but] there are lots of things we are doing that will help people keep more of their money ,” he told Sky News.

07:08 AM

Budget begins process of reducing taxes, Chancellor insists

Rishi Sunak has insisted it is his “ambition” to lower taxes before the next election, as spending reaches levels not seen for a generation. 

Speaking on the morning after delivering his Budget he told Sky News: “My ambition is to lower taxes, that is what I would like to do as Chancellor… and I was delighted to start that yesterday.”

But quizzed about whether that would include income tax, he declined to comment. 

With the Universal Credit taper cut, he had “yesterday cut taxes for two million of the lowest paid people in the country”.

06:56 AM

The drinks are on me, declares Rishi Sunak 

Rishi Sunak on Wednesday announced plans for Government spending at levels not seen since the late 1970s as he declared that the Conservatives were now the “real party of public services”.

The Chancellor used improved economic figures to increase spending in every government department in a £150 billion spree that moved the Tories into traditional Labour territory.

He announced beer duty cuts and business rates relief to help firms hit by the Covid pandemic, while tweaking Universal Credit, increasing the minimum wage and scrapping a fuel duty rise to help people with the cost of living crunch.

Mr Sunak used his Budget speech to say it was time to start preparing for a “post-Covid” future and vow to build an “economy fit for a new age of optimism”, with higher wages and higher skills.

06:56 AM

Good Morning

Are the corks popping in Downing Street – or has the Budget left Westminster with a hangover? 

Rishi Sunak’s work didn’t end at the dispatch box, with the Chancellor speaking to Tory backbenchers and the media to defend some of his measures. 

That continues this morning – and we will hear from the Institute for Fiscal Studies to see what they make of it all.

Here is today’s front page. 

The front page of tomorrow’s Daily Telegraph:

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