Chancellor Rishi Sunak is said to be planning to increase the Defense Ministry’s £49 billion budget in Wednesday’s mini-budget in response to the threat of Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine
(Image: James Maloney/Lancs Live)
Rishi Sunak is expected to increase defense spending, which could save the jobs of up to 9,000 soldiers.
Westminster sources say the Chancellor plans to increase the Defense Ministry’s £49 billion budget in Wednesday’s mini-budget in response to the threat of Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.
One told the Sunday Mirror: “Ministers are no longer talking about defense cuts. They now see the need to strengthen our forces to confront Russia.”
And that could reverse the planned reduction from 82,000 troops to 73,000 by 2025.
Mr Sunak’s spring statement on the nation’s financial health must also soften the blow of the worst cost-of-living crisis in 50 years.
More than 50 Tory MPs are now calling for a cut in fuel taxes using the extra £2billion Mr Sunak will lose from higher fuel tax revenues.
A five per cent cut in the 57.95p duty frozen since 2011 and VAT would cut the cost of a liter of petrol by 6p, following the frontrunners of Holland, Ireland, Sweden and France.
There may also be an increase in the £200 grant for home electricity bills, which are now to be repaid over the next five years at a rate of £40 a year.
Gas and electricity costs will increase by £693 next month and a further £1,000 from October. The low paid are hit the hardest, with 12% of their income going to heating and light, compared to just 4% for the better off.
But ministers insist the Chancellor will not scrap the 1.25% increase in National Insurance next month, which will raise money for the NHS and social care.
That means the average annual earner of £30,000 pays an extra £214 a year.
Isaac Delestre of the Institute for Fiscal Studies said: “Tax hikes in the last two years are the largest in the entire decade of Tony Blair’s administration.”
The minimum wage will rise from £8.91 to £9.50 next month, and pensions and Universal Credit will be increased by 3.1% – but nurses will only be offered pay rises of 3%.
Inflation is now heading for more than eight percent, twice what the chancellor forecast half a year ago.
The personal allowance will likely remain frozen at £12,570 and the 40% top rate will remain at £50,270.
But Mr Sunak could change the £50,000 threshold for child benefit above which money is taxed as too many property taxpayers are now caught in his net.
That would be worth £324 a year for a family with two children. And a further eight-point reduction in the UC Taper rate would give 1.9 million working households an extra £1,000.
But Ian Stewart of accountants Deloitte said: “While stronger-than-expected tax receipts give the Chancellor room to mitigate some of the impact of higher energy bills, they do not come close to preventing a serious fiscal crisis in the coming months.”
“We must act – and quickly”
by Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary
Wednesday will be a moment of truth for this government and a hell of a lot depends on Rishi Sunak’s announcements.
Millions of households across the UK are facing a perfect storm of rising bills and falling incomes.
Without proper government action, many will be pushed to subsistence levels.
The Chancellor must impose a windfall tax on greedy oil and gas companies.
It’s insulting to hear BP execs brag about “having more money than we know what to do with” when households are struggling to cover essentials.
Funds raised from a windfall tax could be used to give energy grants to disadvantaged families – and would offer much better financial support than the meager £7-a-week energy bill loan scheme unveiled by Rishi Sunak last month.
Universal Credit needs a real boost.
Low-paid workers will rise by just £121 this year.
But if average energy bills are set to skyrocket by at least £693, how can ministers expect people to survive?
The TUC is therefore calling for the UC to be raised to 80 percent of the value of the Real Living Wage.
And the government must work with unions and employers to raise wages across the economy. Salary packages are still worth less in real terms than they were in 2008.
Years of weak wage growth have left workers highly exposed to sudden price hikes – and that’s exactly what’s happening now.
The only way to fix this in the long term is to return to decent pay increases every year. And that means working with unions to increase wages in every job.
We need action, and fast. To you, Rishi.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/rishi-sunak-boost-defence-spending-26508547 Rishi Sunak increases defense spending in spring declaration to save 9,000 soldiers' jobs