Little action on rising inflation, say food and drink firms
Now back to some more reaction to the Budget we've been hearing this afternoon.
Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, says for many manufacturers and producers the 50% cut in business rates for hospitality announced in the Budget and the simplification of alcohol duty are “welcome news".
However, he says the Budget does “little to address” labour shortages and adds it is also “worryingly short on action to tackle rising inflation”.
“Given the pressures they are facing, many manufacturers will simply have no choice but continue to pass costs down the chain,” he says.
Clarke: A fiscally responsible gamble of a Budget
A former Tory chancellor is welcoming the Budget as "fiscally responsible", but warns it is also a "gamble" amid rising inflation and costs.
Ex-MP Ken Clarke - now Lord Clarke - told BBC News the chancellor's speech was "sound and sold very well".
He says Rishi Sunak has "made the most of increases in spending he's got... he's keeping the level of debt under control and he hopes to reduce the level of annual deficit if - and it's a big if behind all this - the economy can maintain its recovery".
But Clarke says the economy is in "a pretty sad state and faces a lot of dangers", adding: "I hope it comes off because everything really depends on inflation, costs, growth over the next year or two".
Starmer 'gutted' to miss PMQs and Budget
Just minutes before PMQs - and less than an hour before the chancellor delivered his Budget speech - the Labour Party leader tested positive for Covid.
Sir Keir Starmer had been due to respond to both the prime minister and Rishi Sunak in the Commons.
But instead, he had to isolate himself at home, passing on the job to his shadow business secretary (and former leader) Ed Miliband and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves.
He has now released a video, saying he is "absolutely gutted" to miss the political moments, but it is right to follow the rules.
And Sir Keir says he is feeling "fine" - well enough at least to criticize the Budget that "does nothing for working people and nothing about the cost of living crisis".
Just joining us? Here's what you need to know
If you missed Rishi Sunak's Budget statement earlier, here's a quick recap of some of the main points:
- Inflation is set to rise to 4% over the next year but unemployment is expected to peak at 5.2% in 2022, lower than 11.9% previously predicted, and the UK economy is forecast to return to pre-Covid levels by 2022
- Whitehall departments will receive a rise in overall spending, totalling £150bn over the course of this Parliament
- The universal credit taper rate will be cut by 8%, no later than 1 December, bringing it down from 63% to 55%, meaning people earning and claiming universal credit will keep more of their benefit
- The planned rise in fuel duty is to be cancelled amid the highest pump prices in eight years
- A £5bn fund to remove unsafe cladding will be funded by a levy on property developers
- Schools will get an extra £4.7bn by 2024-25 with funding to return to 2010 levels in real terms
- An extra £2.2bn for courts, prisons, and probation services, has been announced - including £500m to reduce courts backlogs
- Ahead of the COP26 climate summit, a cut in air passenger duty for internal UK flights was revealed - but there will be a tax rise on "ultra long haul" flights.