Budget 2021: Chancellor to insist UK is entering 'age of optimism' as he unveils plans

27 October 2021, 00:44 | Updated: 27 October 2021, 12:06

Rishi Sunak will deliver his Budget and Spending Review in Parliament today.
Rishi Sunak will deliver his Budget and Spending Review in Parliament today. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Rishi Sunak will use his Budget and Spending Review today to insist the UK is entering an "age of optimism", making a raft of promises to pay workers more, increase the National Living Wage and invest in transport and skills.

This afternoon the chancellor is due to announce a number of policies, including new funding to tackle NHS backlogs, nearly £7 billion to overhaul local transport, a new Global Britain Investment Fund and an increase in the National Living Wage.

Speaking about his priorities in his speech to the House of Commons, the Chancellor of the Exchequer is due to say that the Budget will begin work on creating an "economy fit for a new age of optimism".

He is expected to say: “Today’s Budget begins the work of preparing for a new economy post Covid. An economy of higher wages, higher skills, and rising productivity.

“Of strong public services, vibrant communities and safer streets."

Read more: Budget 2021: What can we expect from the Chancellor?

The Budget Review comes amid soaring gas prices, supply chain issues, and looming uncertainty about what's next for Covid-19 - meaning it is one of most important budgets a chancellor has ever had to deliver.

A number of Budget announcements have already been released ahead of the chancellor's speech, causing anger from the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

A total of eighteen preview press releases have been handed to journalists in the run-up to Wednesday.

"This House will not be taken for granted," said the Speaker.

"It is not right for everybody to be briefed. It's not more important to go on the news in the morning, it's more important to come here.

"Let's get this message across, these are the elected members that represents this United Kingdom."

Read more: Budget 2021: Millions of public sector workers to benefit as pay freeze set to be axed

Read more: Budget 2021: Business will struggle as living wage rises, trade body warns

What is the chancellor set to announce?

Public sector pay freeze to be axed

The chancellor previously announced a pay freeze for public sector workers - such as teachers, police officers and firefighters - during the pandemic.

This will be lifted in Wednesday's Budget.

Minimum wage to rise

The chancellor is also set to announce an increase in minimum wage.

Currently, the minimum wage for those over the age of 23, known as the national living wage, is £8.91 per hour - that is now set to climb to £9.50.

NHS backlog funding

The NHS will receive almost £6bn to help the clear the backlog of patients as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

This will allow them to deliver around 30 per cent more elective - meaning non-urgent - activity such as checks, scans and procedures.

There has also been speculation about changes to alcohol prices, the student loan threshold and council tax - but none of these have been confirmed.

The Chancellor will outline his plans at Wednesday's Budget - check back at LBC for all the live coverage.