HomeCoronavirusRishi Sunak defends budget amid claim it will plunge 500,000 more people...

Rishi Sunak defends budget amid claim it will plunge 500,000 more people into poverty – politics live

Good morning. We live in an age of instant news, but budgets are political events that take time to analyse in full and the day after is often the point when their full implications start to become a lot clear. Today is no exception. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, has been doing the morning broadcast interview round, but as he’s been on air thinktanks have been out with new reports saying his measures will increase poverty.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a thinktank focusing on poverty, says Sunak’s decision to go ahead with the reversal of the £20 per week universal credit uplift, albeit delayed for six months, will plunge 500,000 people into poverty. It says:

The government’s decision to cut universal credit and working tax credit in six months – just as the furlough scheme ends and unemployment peaks – will pull 500,000 people including 200,000 children into poverty as we head into winter.

The OBR’s latest forecasts show that unemployment is expected to increase by a further 500,000 people between now and the peak towards the end of the year. Despite that, the government has chosen to cut the main rate of unemployment support to its lowest level since 1990.

And the Resolution Foundation, a thinktank focusing on living standards, especially for the low paid, says the poorest households will see their incomes fall by 7%. It says:

The poorest households will face a 7 per cent fall in income in the second half of 2021-22 due to the removal of the £20 a week universal credit uplift, which will take the basic level of benefits back to levels not seen since the early 1990s at the same time as unemployment is due to peak.

I will be summarising what Sunak has been saying in all his interviews shortly.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9am: Richard Hughes, head of the Office for Budget Responsibility, speaks at a Resolution Foundation budget analysis event.

9.30am: The ONS publishes reports on Covid and the economy, and attitudes to vaccines among the over-80s.

10am: The Institute for Fiscal Studies publishes its full budget analysis.

11am: NHS test and trace publishes its weekly performance figures.

12pm: Downing Street is due to hold its lobby briefing.

12.30pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, takes questions in the Scottish parliament.

2.30pm: The Commons women and equalities committee takes evidence from various experts on vaccine take-up among BAME communities and women.

Politics Live is now doubling up as the UK coronavirus live blog and, given the way the Covid crisis eclipses everything, this will continue for the foreseeable future. But we will be covering non-Covid political stories too, like the budget reaction, and when they seem more important or more interesting, they will take precedence.

Here is our global coronavirus live blog.

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