What should be in next week's budget from pay rise for key workers to Amazon tax

On Wednesday Rishi Sunak will set out his plans for the country’s recovery after Covid.

He does so against a backdrop of rising job losses, historic debts and new pressures on business from the Brexit trade deal.

What should his priorities be? Here five Mirror writers reveal what they would do if they were Chancellor.

Ros Wynne-Jones

It was a Tory Chancellor, George Osborne, who said “those with the biggest shoulders must bear the burden.”

And that has rarely been truer than in 2021.

People are hurting across the country, but first and foremost, the budget must include a permanent uplift to Universal Credit.

What is your view? Have your say in the comments section

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak poses outside no.11 Downing Street before delivering the first post-Brexit budget in London, United Kingdom on March 11, 2020
All eyes will be on Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday

Six months is a start, but people can’t live with the insecurity of knowing even this thin £20 lifeline will be pulled away.

The Chancellor must also include millions of disabled people who have been left out of this £20 support, and end the five-week-wait for help.

These actions will seriously reduce the foodbank queues.

This is also the moment for the Chancellor to show keyworkers they are owed more than a clap. They deserve and need a pay-rise.

The Universal Credit website is shown on a phone
The budget must include a permanent uplift to Universal Credit

These workers have risked their lives for us and held us up.

He must keep supporting workers through furlough – and help the forgotten three million unsupported people left to go hungry.

But he must also do something for the future – and not slaughter the Green Industrial Revolution before it’s even begun.

Staff join in the applause at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne to salute local heroes during Thursday's nationwide Clap for Carers initiative to recognise and support NHS workers and carers fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Picture date: Thursday April 16, 2020. S
Key workers have risked their lives for us and held us up

After all, there’s plenty of money out there for Tory cronies, and sloshing around in the untaxed coffers of pandemic profiteers like Amazon and others.

Big shoulders and all that.

Kevin Maguire

Shy bairns get no sweets so a bold Budget will build back better after recklessly lost pandemic livelihoods and lives.

A visionary Chancellor would invest £250-300bn to match Joe Biden’s £1.4tr US stimulus.

In this file photo taken on March 26, 2020 People walk past a closed pub in The Grassmarket, Edinburgh, Scotland, after the government ordered a lockdown to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19
Small businesses have been boarded up across the UK

That means putting money in people’s pockets, creating jobs, saving businesses, reviving public services and increasing taxes only on the highest earners and wealthiest.

So adopt a £9.50 (£10.85 London) real living wage, abandon pay freezes for cops to council workers and boost benefits instead of just maintaining £20 Universal Credit.

Extend to the end of the year furloughing, business rate hols and VAT cuts backed by fresh grants for locked down self-employed and small businesses.

Properly finance town halls and the NHS, put rocket boosters under research, construct houses, expand training and guarantee employment opportunities for all jobless.

Click an Amazon sales tax it can’t avoid by routing British orders to Luxembourg then use the money reviving High Streets.

Tax smartly when the innovative IPPR think tank reckons we’d easily collect £55bn from decent capital gains, corporation, wealth and land rates

Economic recovery’s the only real way to reduce Tory record £400bn annual borrowing and £2tr national debt.

The virus crisis is a golden opportunity to found an economy working for the many not the rich few. Tory banker Chancellor Rishi Sunak isn’t up to the task.

Paul Routledge

For myself, I want nothing from premier-wannabe Rishi Sunak. For many thousands of new mothers in the pandemic, I want justice.

For the pregnant women and mums who were left out of the multi-billion-pound Covid rescue programme.

Photo of a pregnant woman in an office writing the words Maternity Leave in her diary.
Many pregnant women and mums were forced to go back to work early (stock image)

Ignored, isolated at home, unable to see their midwife or go to ante-natal classes, they were deprived of the comfort of their partner’s presence when giving birth.

As if this were not enough, they were then stripped of their rightful maternity benefits because they were sacked or furloughed, or fell outside the qualifying period.

They were forced to go back to work early – if their job was still open.

It has been a nerve-wracking, depressing year.

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The system was not designed for them, but nothing was done to change the system to meet their needs and the needs of their new-born.

Boris Johnson showed you can alter the rules overnight.

He brought in a new law giving his Brexiteer fan, Attorney-General Suella Braverman MP, six months’ maternity leave on full pay.

If the government is able to act so swiftly and so generously for one of its own, then the Chancellor must today announce a new deal for new mothers of the pandemic.

Graham Hiscott, Head of Business

A man holding an Amazon delivery.
Giants such as Amazon avoid sales taxes

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s armoury of weapons to help Britain’s businesses has lessened the carnage of the Covid crisis.

But it has come at a colossal cost in term of public sector, which now stands at a mind-boggling £2.1trillion.

Mr Sunak is widely expected to raise the rate of corporation tax from 19%, it’s just a case of by how much.

Upping it to 23% would rake in £12billion and still leave the UK with the lowest combined rate in the G7 group of industrialised countries.

A server wearing a face mask or covering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pours a pint of Camden Pale Ale inside a pub in Mayfair, London on November 3, 2020,
Firms need targeted help, including a cut in beer duty for pubs

Yet it risks proving a blunt move that penalises those still making a profit while hardly impacting the likes of online giant Amazon whose sales have soared in the pandemic yet whose bottom line – used to calculate the tax – is peanuts in comparison.

I’d like the Chancellor to address this in his Budget, but not with an online sales tax that Amazon just passes on to customers.

He is almost certain to extend furlough, business rate relief and the VAT cut – though it should have been confirmed at the time of Boris Johnson’s recent road map announcement.

Instead, firms need targeted help, including a cut in beer duty for pubs, some of which have been closed for the last year.

Jason Beattie, Head of Politics

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak speaks on Spending Review 2020 and the Office for Budget Responsibility's latest economic and fiscal forecast at the House of Commons in London, Britain November 25, 2020
The great fear is Rishi Sunak will repeat George Osborne’s mistake

There is no immediate rush to raise taxes. Yes, the amount we have spent on tackling Covid is unprecedented but it is the Government’s good fortune this has happened at a time when the cost of borrowing has never been so low.

There will be a time when we need to start paying off our debts but that should be after the economy has recovered.

This was the lesson George Osborne failed to learn after the 2008 financial crash when he prolonged the austerity by cutting spending and raising taxes on the poorest.

The great fear is Rishi Sunak will repeat the same mistake.

When the time is right there are two taxes the Chancellor could announce. The first would be a windfall tax on those firms that have profited from the pandemic.

The other is a wealth tax on the very richest. A 5% levy on millionaire couples, paid at 1% a year, would raise £260billion over the next five years.

Though given the Chancellor is a multi-millionaire I’m not holding my breath.


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