Two cheers and one boo for the Budget

Plain-speaking Economics

On balance, I think Rishi Sunak got more things right than wrong in Wednesday’s Budget. Let’s start with a couple of positives.

First, he extended the most important support measures, including the uplift to Universal Credit and the furlough scheme, until the end of September. This is probably longer than strictly necessary because the remaining lockdown restrictions could all be lifted by 21st June. But it does make sense to continue this support in the meantime and to minimise uncertainty for businesses and households.

There was also a good case for asking employers to contribute more to the furlough scheme from July, as the Chancellor has now done. Continuing the scheme on its current terms after restrictions have been lifted could lock people into jobs that are no longer viable and delay the adjustment to the ‘new normal’, whatever that may be.

Some will still say that Rishi Sunak…

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