Winners and losers from Budget – Sunak handed chance to win election

Chancellor leaves Downing Street ahead of Budget

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Rishi Sunak – Winner

The Prime Minister has been looking over his should ever since he entered Downing Street at the threat posed by his predecessor.

Today’s Budget was a chance to set his own agenda and put his Boris problem to bed. Jeremy Hunt delivered for him.

The economic forecasts show the arrows are pointing up on the economy and therefore up in Mr Sunak’s own prospects.

He was the big winner today with a fighting chance now of pulling off a miracle election victory next year.

A growing economy also gives him a great platform to rally support for the election next year.

However, it should be noted that John Major still suffered the worst defeat in Conservative history in 1997 with a strong economy.

Also, the lack of meaningful tax cuts added to the massive rise in Corporation Tax (even with added incentives) means that there will still be a lot of unhappiness on the Tory backbenches.

They will all note that 37.7 percent tax burden is now the highest since the war.

Boris Johnson – Loser

Over the last couple of months, there has been little doubt that Mr Johnson has been longing for a quick return to Downing Street.

The chances of that though depended in large part on missteps from the current incumbent Rishi Sunak.

The improving signs for the economy mean Boris Johnson’s prospects of a quick return have almost shut completely.

Much of what Rishi Sunak has argued appears to have been vindicated and it is hard to replace a Prime Minister who is turning things around.

The Privileges Committee inquiry still hangs over Mr Johnson and with tax, migration and Brexit being sorted he has few things to hang his hat on.

Brexiteers – Winners

Finally yes finally the benefits of Brexit are beginning to come through.

The Brexit pub bonus which could not have happened in the EU is one most Britons can raise a glass to.

But there was much more. The life sciences investment and reshaping of regulation are all signs of a government beginning to use its freedoms to reshape the British economy.

It may be that by the election in 2024 the Conservatives may finally be in a position to articulate what a Brexit Britain will actually look like.

Labour – Losers

They may not realise it, but Sir Keir Starmer and Labour are today’s Budget’s biggest losers.

For one thing, their traditional position of tax and spending has, ironically, been closed off by Mr Hunt who has now raised the tax burden to record levels.

But more importantly, it is much harder to argue against a government when the economy is recovering strongly and growing.

Importantly there will be no recession and with inflation tumbling the cost of living crisis will recede.

The strikes – as today’s one by the RMT which brought London’s Tube network to a halt – are beginning to wear on people.

And Labour’s refusal to take the Unions on will begin to count against them.

As one Tory MP noted about the road to the next election: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

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Older workers – Winners

Probably the biggest announcement today was the decision to abolish the pensions penalty on 80 percent of retired workers to allow people to come back to work without paying more tax.

This had especially been an issue in the NHS with doctors not returning because of the disincentives which existed.

The hope now is that thousands will bring their skills back to the workplace.

It has been a particular problem since the lockdown.

Businesses – To be decided

The hike in Corporation Tax is going to anger many businesses including small and medium-sized companies with a raid on their profits.

The £9billion discount announced as an incentive for the cost of equipment will sweeten the bitter pill for businesses somewhat.

However, it will be interesting to see if there is a rush to the exit door to lower tax regimes abroad and whether other companies decide not to invest in the UK as a result.

Parents – Winners

The get-back-to-work push was not just for older people but also parents, particularly mothers.

Announcing free child care for all children aged nine months to school age will be an enormous boost for parents and allow both to get back into the work place much earlier.

Perhaps more than anything this could be the big vote winner for the Conservatives in this Budget which otherwise was devoid of tax cuts.

MPs – possibly the biggest winners

Shortly after Jeremy Hunt sat down a shadow minister from Labour approached with a smile.

“Great news about the pension measures,” said the MP.

“It will give MPs a huge uplift. Really good move.”

While MPs throw brickbats and catcalls at one another across the Chamber it appears that Mr Hunt has unified them in joy over his biggest Budget measure.

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