Watch live as Rishi Sunak is questioned about his 2022 Spring Statement
The Independent

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s popularity has hit an all-time low after his much-criticised spring statement.

The Conservative MP’s approval rating has dipped from 48 per cent during last year’s Budget to 35 per cent currently, according to Opinium.

On Monday afternoon Sunak was being quizzed over whether or not his mini-budget has done enough to help people with the cost of living crisis.

During last week’s spring statement he announced a 5p cut in fuel duty and an increase in the threshold at which people pay national insurance contributions.

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He promised the first cut in basic income tax by a Conservative chancellor for more than 25 years but came with economic forecasts that confirmed the UK was heading for its highest tax burden since the late 1940s, as well as the biggest drop in disposable income since records began in the 1950s.

And the spring statement comes as the UK’s annual rate of inflation is forecast to hit 7.4 per cent in 2022, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

This would be the highest level for more than 30 years – just short of the 7.5 per cent reached in 1991, when the UK was in the middle of a recession and John Major was prime minister of a Conservative government.

Appearing before the Commons Treasury Committee today, Sunak suggested there would be no extra help for people facing soaring energy bills until the autumn.

“It clearly is very difficult today to speculate on energy prices in the autumn. Let’s wait until we get there,” he said.

Meanwhile, prime minister Boris Johnson’s rating remains low, with 52 per cent disapproving of the job he’s doing while only 28 per cent approve.

Johnson does retain a narrow one per cent lead over Labour leader Keir Starmer for who the public think would make the best prime minister - but 34 per cent of those surveyed think neither of the two would make the best prime minister.

The pollsters also report that although 44 per cent of UK adults approve of the spring statement, 65 per cent think the government should be doing more to tackle the cost of living crisis.

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