Rishi Sunak’s first Budget as UK chancellor revealed new spending commitments, turning the previous Conservative government’s austerity plans on their head and doubling the expected level of borrowing towards the end of this parliament. An extra £12bn in spending was announced to help businesses, households and public services combat the growing coronavirus pandemic.
There was a warning from the official independent watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, of the economic cost of Brexit. It said that Britain had lost 2 per cent of potential output since the 2016 Leave vote, with a further 3.2 per cent to come, and that higher trade barriers would cause imports and exports to be about 15 per cent lower after 10 years.
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