Rishi Sunak insists his high-tax break protests the most needy | UK | News

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He said: “Crucially, those on higher incomes are affected more by this policy – it is a very progressive policy.” Mr Sunak said he had taken a “generous approach” to protecting the poorest by extending the £20-a-week Universal Credit increase until the end of September. He said it would take “many years, decades and governments” to pay back the full pandemic bill and it “won’t be fixed overnight”.

Mr Sunak said: “But it is important that we get our borrowing and debt under control so it stops going up even after we’ve recovered.”

The Chancellor also defended the Government’s approach to social care after critics attacked him for failing to include measures in the Budget.

He said work on reforming the system had been delayed by Covid, adding: “We are committed to finding, ideally, a cross-party solution to sustainable social care funding.

“It is important given the long-term duration of social care policy that, as much as possible, we would like to build consensus around a solution.”

But Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said the numbers in the Budget “do not look like they are going to hold”.

He warned the Government will struggle to keep down public spending and is unlikely to meet its goals, “at least not without considerable pain”.

A watchdog has said its upbeat economic forecasts were driven by the increasing optimism of epidemiologists.

Richard Hughes, of the Office for Budget Responsibility, said: “They have got progressively more optimistic, which has allowed us to be progressively more optimistic about reopening the economy.”

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