Spring Statement: The key points from Rishi Sunak's mini budget from fuel ...
The Independent

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been compared to a “quiz show contestant” thanks to an awkward encounter with a reporter over the price of bread.

Sunak, who yesterday delivered a much-criticised spring statement, was quizzed on the rising cost of a basket of shopping due to inflation.

BBC Breakfast reporter Nina Warhurst asked the Conservative MP which everyday items he’s spotted that have gone up in price. For Warhurst, it was crisps.

Sunak laughed and said his answer is bread. Quizzed over the price in a way that reminded us of the pint of milk test, he went on to say the bread that he typically buys went up from £1 to £1.20.

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£1.20? Is anyone else surprised that the Chancellor isn’t noshing on expensive artisanal baked goods? The BBC reporter certainly was, as her follow-up question probed which type of bread the Chancellor puts in his basket.

“It’s a Hovis kind of seeded thing,” he said. “We all have different breads in my house, there’s a degree of healthiness between my wife, myself, and my kids.”

He spoke to the BBC reporter the day after delivering his spring statement, in which he announced a 5p cut in fuel duty and an increase in the threshold at which people pay national insurance contributions.

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.

At the Budget last October, inflation in 2022 was forecast to average 4.0 per cent this year.

The sharp jump in the forecast, to 7.4 per cent, reflects how quickly the state of the economy has changed in the past few months, thanks to the surge in the cost of living.

According to economic think tank Resolution Foundation, approximately 1.3 million people will be pushed into “absolute poverty” next year amid criticism that the Tory MP has done “nothing at all for the people at the very bottom” in his spring statement.

Greg Thwaites, who works for the organisation, told BBC Breakfast: “It’s hard to overstate the cost-of-living crisis that this country faces.

“We’ve got the biggest fall in living standards on record in over 60 years… and the highest inflation rate in 30 years.”

Thwaites said most Government support was going to “the top half of households”.

“He’s done nothing at all for the people at the very bottom,” he said.

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