The Chancellor is focused on the autumn Budget as the next moment for intervention, but will his waiting game pay off?
June 14, 2022 9:08 pm(Updated 9:10 pm)
Bad news on the economy just keeps on coming for Britain – and therefore for Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak. The pound is weak, stock markets are spiralling downwards and inflation means the country’s strong labour market is no longer providing pay rises for average workers.
It would be wrong to say that the Government is not acting. The Chancellor has pumped £37bn of short-term support into the economy, targeted at the poorest in society. But beyond the next few months, his strategy seems to be to sit tight and hope for the best. Mr Sunak is focused on the autumn Budget as the next moment for intervention, despite howls from the free-market right, which is desperate to see some big ideas for long-term reform.
This is a political gamble: as i reveals, three million homeowners – more likely than not to be Tory voters – will see their mortgage costs rise this year, with fixed rates going up by £190 a month. There is no help available for them.
Gambling is often the name of the game for this Government. Whether you consider that bold or reckless depends on your point of view. The decision to send asylum seekers to Rwanda rather than allowing them to settle in Britain is another big call: as of Tuesday night it was still unclear whether the first flight would take off at all, with no more than six migrants set to be on board.
It is an eye-catching policy, but the fact that courts have blocked deportation most of the asylum seekers shows that ministers are nowhere near overhauling an immigration system which often seems to mix unnecessary cruelty with surprising laxity.
Mr Johnson will not win back the trust of his MPs, or of voters, if he cannot get a grip.