Sunak’s stamp duty holiday extension has merely inflamed the housing market

Throwing money at an already heated market looks nonsensical and could lose the Treasury £2bn Surprise, surprise. Presented, or so they thought, with an end-March deadline to save a few thousand pounds on stamp duty, buyers rushed to complete their house purchases. Mortgage lending in the month reached a new record. It requires no imagination […]

Rishi Sunak defends delay in England’s autumn lockdown

Comments come as No 10 refuses to deny PM said he would rather ‘let the virus rip’ than impose strict curbs Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Rishi Sunak has spoken out to defend the government’s delay in implementing a second national lockdown in England, with allies suggesting he was not prepared […]

The Guardian view on the house price boom: the asset-rich get richer | Editorial

Treasury measures to boost demand for property and a neglect of social housing are making a dysfunctional market worse Having ridden out the pandemic far better than was expected, Britain’s housing market is enjoying a springtime boom. Demand for homes is surging to levels not seen for at least a decade, outstripping supply and pushing […]

Loophole in ministers’ code allows lobbying to remain secret, says ex-civil servant

Some lobbying by companies such as Greensill Capital is not required to be reported in transparency filings A loophole in the ministers’ code of conduct has allowed officials to keep the lobbying of companies like Greensill Capital off of public records, according to an ex-civil servant, who says ministers are not bound to report unofficial […]

Sunak urged to back Biden corporate tax plan ‘worth £13.5bn a year’

Campaigners say US global blueprint would help raise billions from multinationals and tech giants Rishi Sunak has been urged to throw his full weight behind US proposals for a global minimum corporate tax rate after analysis showed it would bring in an extra £13.5bn a year for the public purse. The campaign group Tax Justice […]

Rishi Sunak told David Cameron he had ‘pushed the team’ over Greensill

Treasury releases messages sent by chancellor to former PM and says Cameron phoned junior ministers Rishi Sunak has been accused of trying to smooth the way for Greensill Capital to gain special access to emergency Covid loans after the release of text messages showing the chancellor told David Cameron he had “pushed the team” to […]

Labour renews call for inquiry after further reports of lobbying by Cameron

Former PM said to have contacted Jesse Norman, financial secretary to the Treasury, to access financial support for Greensill The Labour party has called for urgent answers following reports that David Cameron lobbied a second Conservative minister for access to coronavirus financial support. The former prime minister is said to have contacted Jesse Norman, financial […]

Sunak could have found a better company to praise than Deliveroo

A 26% first-day plunge in the share price suggests investors were more doubtful about the delivery firm Rishi Sunak backed the wrong horse. If the chancellor wanted to promote the London stock market as a warm and loving place for smart 21st-century companies, Deliveroo was the wrong firm to hail as “a true British tech […]

Bob Pape was a beloved father and foster carer. Did ‘eat out to help out’ cost him his life?

Last August, Pape and his family went on a city break to Birmingham, making the most of chancellor Rishi Sunak’s discount scheme. The day after he arrived home, his symptoms began Amanda Pape didn’t want to go on a city break to Birmingham during a pandemic, but her husband, Bob, a 53-year-old lawyer, insisted. “Bob […]

Boris Johnson branded irresponsible over ‘back to the office’ call

Scientists alarmed as prime minister suggests people have had enough ‘days off’ while Labour pushes the right to work from home Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Boris Johnson has sparked new controversy over when employees should return to their workplaces by suggesting people have had enough “days off” at home during […]

Tory MPs reject inquiry into David Cameron’s lobbying for Greensill

Former PM will not face scrutiny by Treasury committee following reports he used private channels to lobby on firm’s behalf Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage David Cameron has drawn criticism from former ministers but escaped official scrutiny by MPs after the Tory-dominated Treasury select committee declined to launch an inquiry into […]

Cameron predicted lobbying would be the next big scandal – now he’s part of it | Simon Jenkins

The former leader should be scrutinised as part of an investigation into Covid contracts blighted by cronyism allegations One of David Cameron’s sternest predictions was that “the far-too-cosy relationship between politics and money” was “the next big scandal waiting to happen”. He was right. It has happened – and he is part of it. When […]

David Cameron texted Rishi Sunak to get Covid loans for Greensill, says report

Former prime minister said to have sent multiple messages to chancellor to access funds for doomed lender New questions are being raised over David Cameron’s attempts to lobby government on behalf of doomed lender Greensill Capital, after he reportedly contacted the chancellor’s private phone in hopes of securing special access to hundreds of thousands of […]

UK’s drastic cut to overseas aid risks future pandemics, say Sage experts

Major research projects will be cancelled, including those designed to head off future disease threats, warn scientists The government’s drastic cut to overseas aid risks damaging the world’s ability to fight the next global health disaster and keep Britain safe, some of its own scientific advisers on Covid are warning. In a significant escalation of […]

Covid bank holidays would be the shot in the arm the UK economy so badly needs | Simon Jenkins

During the pandemic, Britons have saved £250bn. Four extra days off this summer would encourage them to spend it Ending lockdown, Boris Johnson once said, would be far harder than starting it. Governments prefer imposing controls to lifting them. Now he is set on what he calls “a one-way road to freedom”, he should do […]

Britain ‘heading for new era of austerity’, thinktank warns

Analysis of budget highlights deep cuts to spending for Whitehall departments and local government Britain could be headed for a new era of austerity, the leading tax and spending thinktank has warned, after analysis of Rishi Sunak’s budget revealed deep cuts in spending plans for Whitehall departments and local government. The Institute for Fiscal Studies […]

Reform urged for outdated council tax that hits poor hardest

Campaigners from across the political divide tell Rishi Sunak that the lowest earners in the poorest areas are penalised The current council tax system is a “wealth tax” on poorer parts of Britain and is in urgent need of a comprehensive overhaul, according to a coalition of academics and thinktanks from across the political divide. […]

Will Spacs, the new trend in buyouts, take off in the UK?

Looser rules may allow the cash-rich, acquisition-hungry shell firms to succeed in London, but investors will need protecting Basketball star Shaquille O’Neal does not at first glance seem to have much in common with the UK’s chancellor, Rishi Sunak. While the American sportsman has endorsed Pepsi, the British minister recently confessed to an addiction to […]

Autumn budget last chance to fix social care funding, Boris Johnson warned

Sir Andrew Dilnot says solution cannot wait after opportunity missed in budget A comprehensive plan to fix the social care crisis in England faces years of further delays unless Boris Johnson backs sweeping reforms this autumn, the government has been warned. There was a backlash last week against Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, after his budget […]

The week in audio: the budget on Nihal Arthanayake; The Price of Song – review

Rishi Sunak morphs into a Blair-like bird, while Björn Ulvaeus and Paul McCartney reveal why they won’t join the songwriters’ rush to sell off royalties The budget on Nihal Arthanayake (Radio 5 live) | BBC SoundsThe Price of Song (Radio 4) | BBC Sounds Spring is here, and to herald its arrival the chirpy birdie […]

Now we health workers know how empty Boris Johnson’s ‘clap for heroes’ really was | Rachel Clarke

We’ve had a traumatic year and lost patients and colleagues. But all he offers us is a derisory 1% pay offer Rachel Clarke is a palliative care doctor and the author of Breathtaking: Inside the NHS in a Time of Pandemic When the NHS saved his life last April, Boris Johnson could not have reacted […]

Give credit to Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish democracy | Letters

Keith McLeay suggests the first minister’s successes are deserving of more recognition, John Warburton says the Scottish government is spending Scottish money, Adam Rennie argues that accountable parliamentary democracy is alive and well, and Liam Stewart addresses the use of ‘yous’ Martin Kettle’s article on Rishi Sunak and Nicola Sturgeon (Nicola Sturgeon and Rishi Sunak […]

Sunak is an arsonist posing as a firefighter. It’s Labour’s job to expose the truth | Owen Jones

The chancellor appears keener on spending than his Tory predecessors. But who really benefits from this budget? Rishi Sunak is one of the chief architects of Britain’s economic calamity. He is an arsonist posing as a firefighter, not that you would know it from some of the media profiles, which suggested he had more than […]

Rishi Sunak has turned into a social media star, but who is he trying to influence? | Marie Le Conte

His latest slick self-promotional video shows a politician trying just a little too hard to show his best side “I’m sure this budget will look better on Instagram,” said Keir Starmer in the Commons on Wednesday. “In fact, this week’s PR video cost the taxpayer so much, I was half expecting to see a line […]

The Guardian view on climate and the budget: Sunak fails the green test | Editorial

By failing to plan for a low-carbon recovery, the chancellor has revealed his lack of vision The absence of green measures was not the only sense in which this week’s budget was a missed opportunity. The failure to address social care was another sign that the government is far more interested in short-term point-scoring than […]

Rishi Sunak’s generosity must go further to avert a long-term economic crisis | Letters

The budget should offer more to support disabled jobseekers, writes Gemma Hope, while Mike Pender believes the costs of the pandemic should not fall solely on working-age adults. Plus letters from Michael Leigh, Adrian Cosker and Martin Piercy I read Heather Stewart’s piece with interest (Sunak goes long on support for jobs – but says […]

Extra 1.3m people in UK to start paying income tax over next five years

Office for Budget Responsibility says further 1m will be pushed into higher rate taxation as result of 2021 budget An extra 1.3 million people will have to start paying income tax – and a further million will be pushed into higher rate taxation – over the next five years, according to the Office for Budget […]