omorrow’s Budget will owe a lot to a fifth century North African saint who is reported to have asked the Almighty: “God, make me good, but not just yet.”
The chancellor says he wants to “level with the British people”. In words, maybe. But in deeds, not just yet. Instead, he will try to ensure that there is post-Covid economic recovery by continuing to “do what it takes” to support loss-making businesses and jobs, and to stimulate consumer demand through the remaining months of an unwinding lockdown.
Rishi Sunak will do this by running a budget deficit in 2020/21 of around £350bn, close to 17 per cent of GDP, a level of deficit financing unheard of outside wartime and adding to the stock of public debt, already around 100 per cent of GDP.