In pre-coronavirus days, immediately following the Tories’ huge election victory in December, this Budget was trailed as the thing that would tell us what the ‘levelling up’ mantra really meant. Things haven’t quite worked out that way. Maybe because of the necessary focus on the coronavirus impact, we learnt little new about what ‘levelling up’ means. Or possibly that was because the government is also still not quite sure what the phrase stands for. Sunak was clearly getting a little carried away by his rhetoric when he claimed that this Budget had already delivered – got done – the election promise to ‘level up’.
The government this week flunked one budgetary issue that could have pointed in the desired political direction. No doubt drawing on his hedge-fund experience, Sunak hedged a decision on what to do about the fiscal rules, after much speculation that he would address them in the Budget.
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