The warning from landlords that their pubs might never survive is the grim reality behind the slick PR of a Chancellor with a giant ego.
The glass is half empty, not half full, when what is sold as generous by Rishi Sunak is insufficient to cover lost profits during nearly a year of restrictions and closures.
Tomorrow’s Budget is an opportunity to reset the economy, to create a fairer country, to build back better after the devastation of the pandemic.
Sunak is not up to that job, alas.
He has a brass neck to pat himself on the back and brag – when he should be hanging his head in shame that Britain, on his watch, suffered a worse economic hit than any other major economy in the world.
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We should never have needed to drag from him an extension of the job-saving furlough scheme until September or had to battle hard for aid to devastated businesses.
Look behind the propaganda of Sunak’s self-serving mini movies and we see people hurting.
Make PM pay
For selfish, cynical Boris Johnson to feather his Downing Street nest at taxpayers’ expense or by leaving himself at the mercy of tycoons is greedy Tory politics.
It is nauseating to see the PM putting himself first as he punishes Covid heroes with wage freezes – and as even Tories warn that hundreds of thousands of the world’s poorest will die from his £4billion cut to foreign aid.
If the twice-divorced dad and his younger girlfriend Carrie Symonds want to tart up the flat, let them do what everybody else must and pay the bills themselves.
Fly-tippers are the trash in our society and the authorities must come down on them like a ton of dumped bricks.
So let’s impose the maximum penalties, crush their vans and trucks, then require the disgusting dumpers to work for free removing their waste – with a teaspoon, toiling until they have moved every last bit.