The roadmap for recovery
357 days after delivering his first Budget, one that was inevitably dominated by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Rishi Sunak might have hoped that when the time came around again the UK would already be on its way to a post-pandemic recovery.
Instead, lockdown restrictions are still in force around the country and there is still a pressing need to support businesses and protect jobs and livelihoods. Perhaps the Chancellor is preparing to extend the furlough scheme once more, revive a version of the Job Support Scheme or bring back the Job Retention Bonus. Or, maybe he is looking more towards job creation and considering some form of employer national insurance holiday for new employees, to encourage recruitment. Either way, he is likely to be continuing to consider how his interventions can support the Government’s aims around levelling up.
With the environment at the top of the agenda, it’s also likely further steps will be taken towards using the tax system to incentivise more environmentally friendly behaviour among the public and businesses as the Government looks to emphasise its green credentials ahead of COP26.
Buoyed by the early successes of the mass vaccination programme, the Chancellor will be keen to use the Budget to herald the start of the more positive times to come. In the near future he will have to turn to the unenviable task of nursing the economy into recovery while repairing the country’s battered public finances and that will likely mean some tax changes.
While immediate significant measures are unlikely the Chancellor may take the opportunity to set out a roadmap to recovery that will show the landscape for future revenue raising measures and set the economic narrative for this Parliament.
Keep an eye on this page for more predictions and check back on 3 March for in-depth analysis of the Chancellor’s announcements.