Grant Shapps: Budget may be delayed
Speaking on Andrew Marr’s BBC programme, Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, said the budget may be delayed following Sajid Javid’s resignation.
While it was originally scheduled for 11 March, the resignation of Javid, and appointment of Rishi Sunak, have thrown this date into doubt.
Despite describing preparations as “well advanced”, Shapps warned that the new chancellor may need more time: “The guy’s only been in in place for a few days, let’s give him a few days to decide on the date.”
Originally scheduled for November, the first budget of Boris Johnson’s government was delayed to accommodate the general election.
While the government has not announced any concrete proposals for the budget, Javid had previously promised an “infrastructure revolution”, with billions invested across the UK.
This focus was echoed by Shapps, who said: “I can tell you that we are absolutely kind of determined to deliver a big uplift in the infrastructure of this country.
“We’ve just been talking about HS2. The interesting thing about HS2, for example, is that it only takes per year about four per cent of the capital budge that we have allocated each year. So there is a lot more that you’ll still be expecting us to do – powerhouse rail and all these other things. The buses, the bike – the cycle lanes.”
The possibility of delaying the budget was criticised by Opposition MPs, with Sir Ed Davey, the acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, saying: “Any delay in the budget will send out alarm bells that a major change of economic policy is now being planned without any democratic legitimacy from the Tory manifesto just weeks ago.”
If the budget is not released soon, the Office for Budget responsibility, which monitors the government’s financial management, may be unable to publish two forecasts in the financial year.