Tory MP explains why the government can afford £600billion Budget splurge

11 March 2020, 08:22 | Updated: 11 March 2020, 09:29

By Adrian Sherling

The Chancellor is planning a Budget spending spree not seen for over 60 years. This Conservative MP told Nick Ferrari how the government can now afford to spend after years of austerity.

Coronavirus is expected to dominate the Chancellor's Budget this lunchtime. Rishi Sunak says he's ready to deliver "whatever action is required" to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Chancellor has also promised to invest "historic amounts" on infrastructure and innovation, with some pundits believing the spending will top £600 billion.

Anthony Browne is the MP for South Cambridgeshire and a former CEO of the British Bankers Association. He told Nick Ferrari that borrowing has been at historically low levels, allowing the government more leeway.

He said: "One of the big things of this Budget is delivering on the manifesto commitments. We were just elected back in December and a big part of that was delivering on infrastructure. As you know, Boris the Prime Minister is very keen on infrastructure.

"We're expecting £600 billion, a tripling of spending, and the highest level since the 1950s."

Nick Ferrari heard why Rishi Sunak is planning a £600bn Budget spending spree
Nick Ferrari heard why Rishi Sunak is planning a £600bn Budget spending spree. Picture: LBC / PA

Nick asked if we can afford it and Mr Browne insisted: "Government borrowing is at record lows at the moment. It's extraordinarily cheap for the government to borrow money at the moment.

"So if you're going to spend on infrastructure, then now is the time to do it.

"As a country, we've tended to underspend for decades, so we clearly need to do it."

Mr Browne also confirmed that Nadine Dorries, the Tory MP who has contracted coronavirus, is feeling a lot better.

And despite the fears that MPs may act as super-spreaders of Covid-19 around the country, he insisted that parliament should not be closed down.

Watch his full interview at the top of the page.