LONDON – British finance minister Rishi Sunak is considering pushing his annual budget plan into next year to give himself more time to assess the economic impact of ending state support for businesses, The Guardian newspaper reported.
A government spokesman said there was no need to make a decision about timing of the budget which will provide Sunak a chance to spell out how he plans to fix the huge hole in Britain’s public finances blown by the COVID-19 response.
The Guardian said that Sunak had been told there was a case for waiting until the spring of 2022.
A huge government wage-subsidy programme is due to expire at the end of September and many economists expect a rise in unemployment as a result. Data showing the impact of the end of the subsidies might not be available until the end of 2021.
The budget, which covers the government’s tax and spending plans for the year ahead, is typically announced in November or early December.
Sunak is also planning to announce a three-year spending strategy for the government in the autumn.
“There is no need to make any decisions about when a budget will be held for now,” the government spokesperson said. “The Spending Review will be launched in the usual way.”