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A verdict on the 2021 Budget

There is a scene in a James Bond film where Bond escapes an island surrounded by alligators by leap-frogging across their backs.

Here the island is the public debt pile, and the alligators are risks – recession, higher interest rates, inflation and the effects of Brexit.

Unfortunately, Rishi Sunak will have to go back to the island later on, and the alligators will still be there…

The Chancellor has – rightly - chosen economic recovery and support for millions over financial orthodoxy and bank balancing.

Furlough and other grants continue – and there is real vision in stimulating investment in new kit, new technologies and new ways of funding growth in green technology. I welcome all that with open arms.

Taxes are going up – just more slowly than feared – by stealth and by taxing “anonymous” corporations rather than “real” people. And later. And only some of them.

So, when he goes back to the Alligator Island he hopes these measures will build a bridge. I hope he’s right.

And by not stifling the recovery by continuing support and delaying tax hikes, with the end of lock down – add a bit of spring weather and the odd daffodil – there is hope.

But we will still need that bridge. One day the books will have to balance and the public debt pile will have to go down. Growth – real growth – will do much of that heavy lifting. But not all.

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