Feb 28, 2021

Budget 2021: The challenge facing Rishi Sunak

Chancellor Rishi Sunak's Budget will be one of the most-closely watched in years, as the government grapples with the enormous economic costs of the Covid-19 pandemic, and as he charts a financial roadmap for the country. The UK's national debt has reached its highest level since 1963 - reflecting the huge cost of pandemic support measures such as the furlough scheme. The independent Office for Budget Responsibility estimates that this figure could reach £393.5bn by the end of the financial year in March. Campaign groups are calling on the chancellor to plug gaps in schemes such as the self-employed income support scheme to support millions of self-employed people and other workers excluded from furlough. The Resolution Foundation think tank says that 2.3 million workers are missing out on help because they are not covered by SEISS. UK house prices climbed 8.5% last year - that's the highest annual growth rate since October 2014 - with the average UK house price reaching a record high of £252,000 in December 2020.

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