Rishi Sunak has banked most of a £50bn windfall in the public finances to set up a war chest for pre-election tax cuts, leaving households facing a significant squeeze in living standards as runaway inflation bites (The Financial Times £).
Rishi Sunak attempted to assert his credentials as a tax-cutting chancellor yesterday as official forecasts showed Britain facing the biggest fall in living standards since records began in 1956 (The Times £).
Families face the biggest hit to their living standards on record as the tax burden rises to its highest level in 70 years amid surging inflation and a raid on National Insurance (The Telegraph).
Rishi Sunak has cut fuel duty by 5p a litre, raised the threshold at which workers start paying national insurance by £3,000 a year and announced a future 1p reduction in income tax in response to the fastest rise in the cost of living in three decades (The Guardian).
Motorists stand to save an average of £3.30 to fill their cars over the coming 12 months following Rishi Sunak’s decision to cut fuel duty by 5p a litre, but the RAC branded the reduction a “drop in the ocean” (The Telegraph).
The war in Ukraine is to slash economic growth in Britain this year as inflation wrecks household budgets and taxes rise, the fiscal watchdog has warned (The Telegraph).
Businesses have criticised a “jam tomorrow” Spring Statement that did little to alleviate the heavy pressure many companies in the UK are under from rocketing inflation and energy costs (The Financial Times £).
Rishi Sunak’s spring statement was a “missed opportunity” to address the huge cost pressures on companies and to rebuild the economy, business leaders have warned (The Times £).
Hospitality, manufacturing and haulage sectors say spring statement falls far short of the help needed (The Guardian).
Hospitality leaders warn thousands of jobs could be lost after the Chancellor ‘missed an opportunity’ to halt VAT increases (The Mail). Bosses in the sector, and the retail industry, criticised Rishi Sunak for a lack of business rates support for firms hit by soaring costs.
Martin Wolf in The Financial Times (£) writes that Rishi Sunak failed to address the hit to living standards in his mini-budget. “It is hard to see a good justification for the chancellor’s decision to leave the most vulnerable worse off.”
Larry Elliott in The Guardian agrees that Sunak’s spring statement leaves the most vulnerable to feel the squeeze.
Rishi Sunak has broken his promise to help with the cost of living, says an opinion piece in The Guardian written by a food bank manager. “For the increasing number of people who use my food bank, the future is looking bleak.”
Britain’s inflation rate has risen above 6% for the first time since 1992, heaping pressure on families and businesses struggling with rising prices (The Times £).
The February inflation figure for the consumer prices index was higher than the 5.9% predicted by a Reuters poll of economists, illustrating the scale of the squeeze on UK households from soaring living costs (The Guardian).
More than a million people are set to be pushed into poverty amid the cost of living crisis, a think tank has said (BBC News).
Some food bank users are declining items such as potatoes as they cannot afford the energy to boil them, the boss of the supermarket Iceland has said, as the soaring cost of living pushes vulnerable groups to the financial brink (The Guardian).
The cost of living in Russia is surging, according to new data, following the country’s invasion of Ukraine (BBC News). Official figures show the price of some household staples - such as sugar - have jumped by as much as 14% over the past week.
Nestlé is to halt sales of KitKat, Nesquik and several dozen other brands in Russia after criticism from Ukraine’s leaders over its presence in the country (The Financial Times £).
The food and drinks group announced this week that it had stopped the import and export of non-essential goods but said on Wednesday that it was also stopping the vast majority of its local production of such items including coffee, confectionery and pet food (The Guardian).
The Swiss consumer goods company, which is often one of the last to pull out of war zones, said it would suspend the “vast majority” of its products including pet food, coffee and confectionery and would continue to provide only baby food and food for medical and hospital use, such as tube formulas (The Times £).
Delivery service Instacart has said it will build micro-fulfilment warehouses as it attempts to fend off the dual threat of newer rapid delivery apps and Amazon’s growing presence in groceries (The Financial Times £).