On some counts this Budget was Rishi Sunak’s 15th major announcement since his first Budget, just under a year ago. During this period, the pandemic has dominated the Chancellor’s actions and this was true of his latest Budget. To no small degree the framework for Mr Sunak’s latest appearance at the despatch box had been set by the data-dependent (but date-filled) road map outlined by the Prime Minister nine days before the Budget.
Mr Sunak extended the main employment support schemes to the end of September. The most significant of these, the coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS – furlough scheme), was covering 4.7 million employments at the end of January with a cumulative cost of
nearly £54 billion.