‘Be nice to Rishi,’ said the nurse who kindly carried out a Covid test on me last Friday at work – it proved negative for anyone who is interested in my welfare.
How, in between having a swab thrust up my nose, we had ended up talking about the Chancellor and his Budget last Wednesday, I do not know – I didn’t provoke the conversation nor declare what job I do for a living.
But her gentle support of Rishi Sunak seems indicative of many who believe the Chancellor made the best of a bad job in spelling out how households and businesses would start paying for the Government’s largesse over the past year. As Sarah Bridge’s report on the reaction of small businesses indicates, ‘fair’ seems to be the prevailing verdict on Sunak’s Budget – and it’s a view I don’t disagree with given the precarious economic backdrop against which it was presented.
- Advertisement -
‘Be nice to Rishi’: Many believe the Chancellor made the best of a bad job in spelling out how everyone would start paying for the Government’s largesse over the past year
Of course, there was plenty not to like in the Budget. A five-year freezing of the thresholds at which basic and higher rate tax kick in will hurt many households – resulting in 1.3million more people being dragged into paying tax by 2026 and another one million becoming higher rate taxpayers.
And, as I report in our brilliant Wealth section, some investors will baulk at Sunak’s decision to freeze (again, for five years) a series of key allowances that will make long-term wealth creation a little trickier (and for some more taxing). As for businesses, many (large rather than small) will face a sharp hike in corporation tax from 2023.
Yet, it would be foolish to think that we (business and households) could start to escape the dreadful clutches of coronavirus and lock down without making a contribution to all the support the Government has provided the economy over the past year.
Support that has averted catastrophic job losses and a cataclysmic recession.
There could be more tax rises around the corner – as a number of leading economic think-tanks are predicting. But, hopefully, a strong economic bounce in the months ahead will militate against this. I do hope so.
For the time being, I’m prepared to be nice to Rishi.
NS&I has made a pig’s ear of running the Government’s savings bank over the past year. When lockdown hit last March, it hooked savers in by the millions with attractive interest rates at a time when banks were cutting theirs, only to suddenly slash rates to the bone late last year when it couldn’t cope with demand.
The move backfired spectacularly as its already overworked customer support staff struggled to cope with a stampede for the exit doors.
The result of all this is that NS&I’s brand has been damaged badly – some say irreparably – while it has failed to raise the £35billion of funds asked of it by the Government in the current tax year. How NS&I boss Ian Ackerley has kept his job remains a modern-day mystery. Against this rather troubling backdrop, I trust NS&I will get itself sorted out before it handles the summer launch of the Government’s green savings bond. A savings product that is designed to appeal to green savers, with the proceeds used to finance green infrastructure projects such as offshore wind farms.
So far, details of the bond are scant – as are assurances from Mr Ackerley that NS&I will be able to cope with the new launch.
‘Be nice to Ian?’ No, it’s last-chance saloon, methinks, for the NS&I boss.
THIS IS MONEY PODCAST
- The ‘escape velocity’ Budget and the £3bn state pension victory
- Should the stamp duty holiday become a permanent vacation?
- What happens next to the property market and house prices?
- The UK has dodged a double-dip recession, so what next?
- Will you confess your investing mistakes?
- Should the GameStop frenzy be stopped to protect investors?
- Should people cash in bitcoin profits or wait for the moon?
- Is this the answer to pension freedom without the pain?
- Are investors right to buy British for better times after lockdown?
- The astonishing year that was 2020… and Christmas taste test
- Is buy now, pay later bad news or savvy spending?
- Would a ‘wealth tax’ work in Britain?
- Is there still time for investors to go bargain hunting?
- Is Britain ready for electric cars? Driving, charging and buying…
- Will the vaccine rally and value investing revival continue?
- How bad will Lockdown 2 be for the UK economy?
- Is this the end of ‘free’ banking or can it survive?
- Has the V-shaped recovery turned into a double-dip?
- Should British investors worry about the US election?
- Is Boris’s 95% mortgage idea a bad move?
- Can we keep our lockdown savings habit?
- Will the Winter Economy Plan save jobs?
- How to make an offer in a seller’s market and avoid overpaying
- Could you fall victim to lockdown fraud? How to fight back
- What’s behind the UK property and US shares lockdown mini-booms?
- Do you know how your pension is invested?
- Online supermarket battle intensifies with M&S and Ocado tie-up
- Is the coronavirus recession better or worse than it looks?
- Can you make a profit and get your money to do some good?
- Are negative interest rates off the table and what next for gold?
- Has the pain in Spain killed off summer holidays this year?
- How to start investing and grow your wealth
- Will the Government tinker with capital gains tax?
- Will a stamp duty cut and Rishi’s rescue plan be enough?
- The self-employed excluded from the coronavirus rescue
- Has lockdown left you with more to save or struggling?
- Are banks triggering a mortgage credit crunch?
- The rise of the lockdown investor – and tips to get started
- Are electric bikes and scooters the future of getting about?
- Are we all going on a summer holiday?
- Could your savings rate turn negative?
- How many state pensions were underpaid? With Steve Webb
- Santander’s 123 chop and how do we pay for the crash?
- Is the Fomo rally the read deal, or will shares dive again?
- Is investing instead of saving worth the risk?
- How bad will recession be – and what will recovery look like?
- Staying social and bright ideas on the ‘good news episode’
- Is furloughing workers the best way to save jobs?
- Will the coronavirus lockdown sink house prices?
- Will helicopter money be the antidote to the coronavirus crisis?
- The Budget, the base rate cut and the stock market crash
- Does Nationwide’s savings lottery show there’s life in the cash Isa?
- Bull markets don’t die of old age, but do they die of coronavirus?
- How do you make comedy pay the bills? Shappi Khorsandi on Making the…
- As NS&I and Marcus cut rates, what’s the point of saving?
- Will the new Chancellor give pension tax relief the chop?
- Are you ready for an electric car? And how to buy at 40% off
- How to fund a life of adventure: Alastair Humphreys
- What does Brexit mean for your finances and rights?
- Are tax returns too taxing – and should you do one?
- Has Santander killed off current accounts with benefits?
- Making the Money Work: Olympic boxer Anthony Ogogo
- Does the watchdog have a plan to finally help savers?
- Making the Money Work: Solo Atlantic rower Kiko Matthews
- The biggest stories of 2019: From Woodford to the wealth gap
- Does the Boris bounce have legs?
- Are the rich really getting richer and poor poorer?
- It could be you! What would you spend a lottery win on?
- Who will win the election battle for the future of our finances?
- How does Labour plan to raise taxes and spend?
- Would you buy an electric car yet – and which are best?
- How much should you try to burglar-proof your home?
- Does loyalty pay? Nationwide, Tesco and where we are loyal
- Will investors benefit from Woodford being axed and what next?
- Does buying a property at auction really get you a good deal?
- Crunch time for Brexit, but should you protect or try to profit?
- How much do you need to save into a pension?
- Is a tough property market the best time to buy a home?
- Should investors and buy-to-letters pay more tax on profits?
- Savings rate cuts, buy-to-let vs right to buy and a bit of Brexit
- Do those born in the 80s really face a state pension age of 75?
- Can consumer power help the planet? Look after your back yard
- Is there a recession looming and what next for interest rates?
- Tricks ruthless scammers use to steal your pension revealed
- Is IR35 a tax trap for the self-employed or making people play fair?
- What Boris as Prime Minister means for your money