Budget 2021 – Watch Rishi Sunak speech LIVE with minimum wage hike for millions, plus Universal Credit & pensions latest

CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak is currently unveiling his second Budget of the year, with economic plans that will take Brits through the winter.

Mr Sunak is making major announcements on the minimum wage, Universal Credit, the public sector pay freeze and much more in a Budget that will help thousands of families off benefits.

The Chancellor is also ditching a 2.84p budget hike in fuel duty – a win for The Sun's Keep It Down campaign.

Follow all Rishi's Budget announcements in real time and find out what they mean for your family in our live blog below

  • Natasha Clark

    Invest for success

    More cash for spending on research and development – this investment the Chancellor hopes will continue to see our economic recovery steam ahead.

    As our Kate Ferguson says, it means Britain is spending more as a % than other nations including Germany, France and the US.

  • Natasha Clark

    Splashing the cash

    And the Chancellor appears to have nothing more than a glass of water next to him on the desk… no tipples today for Mr Teetotal.

  • Natasha Clark

    Spenny Rishi…

    So, who is gonna pay for all this? Numbers in the small print coming up…

  • Natasha Clark

    NHS-Yes!

    More cash for the NHS to tackle growing waiting lists and whittle down the backlog.

    Rishi says: "At the start of this Parliament, resource spending on healthcare was £133bn. Today’s Spending Review confirms that by the end of the Parliament, it will increase by £44bn to over £177bn.

    "And the extra revenue we’re now forecast to raise from the Health and Social Care Levy is going direct to the NHS and social care as promised."

    He says the health budget will be largest since 2010, when David Cameron came in and started his austerity programme.

    He promises more hospitals, more nurses, more appointments, and more diagnostic centres.

  • Natasha Clark

    School's back

    More cash for schools, Rishi reveals.

    An extra £4.7billion by 2024/5.

    And tripling the investment into kids with special educational needs and disabilities – creating 30,000 new school places.

    Total education catch up will now be £5bn – still around £10bn short of what the catch up tsar Kevan Collins asked for before he resigned.

    But better than nothing.

  • Natasha Clark

    HOUSE about that…

    Some new stuff on housing from the Chancellor now.

    He says there will be £11.5bn to build up to 180,000 new affordable homes – the "largest cash investment in a decade, 20% more than the previous programme."

    And nearly £2billion will be for building on brownfield sites.

    Chancellor also confirmed that the £5billion raised from the cladding tax will be levied on developers with profits of more than £25million – at a rate of 4 per cent.

    That's more than double what it was expected to raise – at approximately £2billion.

    Yet millions still face paying thousands to rid their homes of dangerous cladding, as the funds won't cover everyone.

  • Natasha Clark

    Just the man…

    Rishi, who is himself, not the tallest man in the House of Commons, makes a joke about Simon Clarke, his chief sec, who is an incredible 6 ft 7….

    He says: "I’d like to thank My RHF the Chief Secretary. Completing the Spending Review in such challenging circumstances was a tall order – and thankfully we had just the man for the job."

    Ha ha…

  • Natasha Clark

    Aid boost

    Rishi says the 0.7 per cent aid spending on aid will return… as promised… by 2024.

    A string of Tories were in uproar when it was cut, but will be pleased to see that manifesto promise on aid return.

  • Natasha Clark

    Keep it down

    The Chancellor promises that the debt will start to fall within the next few years – and he will meet his new fiscal rules he will bring forward to MPs with a vote in the House.

    He is trying to prove to the nation that just because he's spent billions on Covid, and is now raising taxes, he is still to be trusted on the economy.

    Rishi says: "Borrowing down, debt down; proving once again it is the Conservatives – and only the Conservatives – who can be trusted with taxpayer’s money."

  • Natasha Clark

    Budget boost

    Our Jack Elsom is keeping track of all of Rishi's latest reveals – you can find all the announcements when they come in below.

  • Natasha Clark

    But let's save some back…

    And now Rishi reveals new finance rules to try and make sure "when the next crisis comes, we have the fiscal space to act."

    He vows that everyday spending must be paid for through tax.

    And borrowing alone will fund investment "in normal times", he says.

    The Chancellor has a huge task to get some of that £2.2trillion of debt down…

  • Natasha Clark

    Things can only get better

    The Chancellor tells MPs that the economics are looking good as Britain's economy tries to bounce back after Covid.

    He says: "I’m pleased to say the OBR now expect our recovery to be quicker.

    "Thanks to this Government’s actions, they forecast the economy to return to its pre-covid level at the turn of the year –earlier than they thought in March.

    "Growth this year is revised up from 4% to 6.5%.

    "The OBR then expect the economy to grow by 6% in 2022, and 2.1%, 1.3% and 1.6% over the next three years.

    "In July last year, at the height of the pandemic, unemployment was expected to peak at 12%. Today, the OBR expect unemployment to peak at 5.2%."

    Good news… and with wages rising, it's looking up, he says.

  • Natasha Clark

    Speeding up supply

    Rishi revealed that the HGV levy on goods vehicles will be suspended for another year – and vehicle excise duty for them will also be frozen.

    He hopes that will go some way to helping ease the supply chain issues that have left some empty shelves and left shoppers worrying about Christmas.

  • Natasha Clark

    Give us a boost

    Rishi warns that Covid is not yet over, but he's starting to look at life and the economy after the pandemic.

    And he urges everyone who is able to, to get their booster jabs asap.

    The Chancellor said: "Today’s Budget does not draw a line under Covid; we have challenging months ahead. And let me encourage everyone eligible to get their booster jabs right away. But today’s Budget does begin the work of preparing for a new economy post Covid."

  • Natasha Clark

    Mask up

    Tories on the front bench are mostly wearing masks – including Boris, and Dominic Raab.

    MPs watching Rishi give his statement in the Commons this afternoon
  • Natasha Clark

    Level up, level up, level up

    Next the Chancellor says that " for too long, far too long, the location of your birth has determined too much of your future" and the Government have vowed to fix it.

    He says: "Because the awesome power of opportunity shouldn’t be available only to a wealthy few… …but be the birth right of every child in an independent and prosperous United Kingdom."

  • Natasha Clark

    Our plan is working

    Rishi sounds pretty optimistic as he opens the Budget speech today.

    He tells the nation: "Employment is up. Investment is growing. Public services are improving. The public finances are stabilising.

    "And wages are rising. Today’s Budget delivers a stronger economy for the British people: Stronger growth, with the UK recovering faster than our major competitors.

    "Stronger public finances, with our debt under control.

    "Stronger employment, with fewer people out of work and more people in work. Growth up, jobs up, and debt down: Let there be no doubt – our plan is working."

  • Natasha Clark

    Rishi starts

    He starts by not apologising but saying he understands and respects the deputy speaker "very much"…

    Doesn't sound like he's going to let this get in the way of his big moment…

  • Natasha Clark

    Rishi's ticking off

    As the Budget starts, deputy speaker Eleanor Laing raps the Chancellor for "pre briefing" a series of announcements…

    She ain't happy that MPs are hearing after everyone else…

    The deputy speaker backed her boss, Lindsay Hoyle, and said she was upset about "The briefing to the media of details of the Budget statement, to be published before the statement is delivered.

    "All ministers know important policy announcements should be made first to Parliament."

  • Natasha Clark

    Last minute dot com…

    According to Eleni from The Times, Sir Keir learned he was positive at the very last moment before PMQs.

    Also she notes that it's the FIFTH time he's had to isolate over Covid fears… unlucky, Keir!

  • Natasha Clark

    Happy Cheese toastie day

    According to Tory MP David Warburton, there's something else to celebrate today, not just the Budget…

  • Natasha Clark

    Cop off

    Ed and Boris clash in PMQs over climate change and COP26, which is taking place in Glasgow next week.

    The PM hopes to rally world leaders to make huge promises to slash their emissions.

    But Ed is a bit more pessimistic about the whole thing, and is gloomy about whether these big goals can be reached.

    He said:  "In these final days before COP26, we need more than warm words, and above all, Glasgow has got to be a summit of climate delivery, not climate delay."

    Johnson insists cutting CO2 in half is "virtually what this government has done".

    He says the "sensible, pragmatic, Conservative" vision he is pursuing cut carbon emissions by 40% since 1990.

    And he claims the government's net zero plan – to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 – will deliver 440,000 jobs.

    "That what the country wants to see," he concludes.

  • Natasha Clark

    A good start

    Budget day has got off to a tricky start thanks to Sir Keir's dramatic Covid news…

    He posed this snap earlier of him with his shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves, and shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Bridget Philipson.

    No word yet on whether they are having to isolate…

  • Natasha Clark

    He's back!

    Guess who is back…

    Former Labour boss Ed Miliband causes a flurry of laughter when he steps up to grill Boris at the despatch box today.

  • Natasha Clark

    Oh Keir!

    The Labour boss has tested positive for Covid on budget day.

    Ed Miliband is now taking PMQs – he jokes "it's just the like old days!"

    We wish Keir a speedy recovery…

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