Britain will be paying the bill for Covid for decades to come after Rishi Sunak’s Budget set the nation on track for the highest tax burden in more than 50 years to pay for total spending of £407bn on pandemic support.
The chancellor announced a further £65bn lifeline for firms and workers, extending furlough, business rate relief and VAT breaks. The £20-a-week universal credit uplift has also been extended for another six months.
But he reversed 10 years of tax-cutting Conservative policy on corporation tax by announcing a hike from 19 to 25 per cent, to be introduced in 2023. And he froze income tax personal allowance thresholds until 2026, dragging 1.3 million low-paid people into paying it as their earnings increase.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies described it as the biggest tax-raising budget since 1993, increasing the state’s net take by £29bn in 2025-26