Jeremy Hunt delivered his first budget as chancellor and said he was “proving the doubters wrong”, having inherited a dire economic outlook from his predecessor last autumn.
But, despite an improvement, Britain’s economy is still projected to contract this year and citizens are facing the deepest hit to their disposable incomes in their lifetimes.
The Guardian’s special correspondent Heather Stewart tells Hannah Moore that getting people back to work was the centrepiece of Hunt’s statement. He unveiled a plan to provide free childcare to parents of children under two as part of a strategy to entice them back into the workforce.
There were also efforts to reform disability benefits and to ramp up sanctions for those who are on benefits and not deemed to be looking hard enough for employment. At the other end of the income scale, there were tax incentives to those with large pension pots to encourage them not to retire early.
But will it be enough to haul Britain out of the economic doldrums? And, more pressingly for Hunt, will it be enough to salvage his party’s reputation for economic management in time for the next general election?
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