What time is the Spring Budget 2022 today? When Rishi Sunak will make statement - and what he could announce

The Chancellor is believed to be set to make changes to fuel duty, Universal Credit and Government support for rising energy bills

It’s only been five months since the Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his 2021 Autumn Budget.

Back then, Mr Sunak announced what was described as a post-Covid Budget - one that saw him raise taxes by the largest amount in decades as part of a bid to pay for the vast public spending the Government undertook during the Covid pandemic.

But since that last Budget, the economic landscape has altered dramatically as a severe cost of living crisis has hit the UK - only to be worsened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Inflation now sits at a 30-year high, which is making it harder for Brits to pay for energy bills, petrol and even food.

Rishi Sunak will deliver his Spring Statement next week (image: Getty Images)

So at what time today is Rishi Sunak due to give his Spring Budget - and what is he expected to announce in light of the cost of living crisis?

Here’s everything you need to know.

What is the Spring Budget?

The Budget is a major annual event during which the Chancellor of the Exchequer - currently Rishi Sunak - sets out the UK’s financial position and reviews taxation.

Budgets date back hundreds of years to the formation of Parliament.

From 1998, they happened in the spring with a separate pre-Budget announcement in the autumn.

However, Theresa May’s Chancellor Philip Hammond swapped the dates around during his tenure, creating what is known as a Spring Statement.

The most recent Budget was in October 2021 (image: Getty Images)

The Covid pandemic has also disrupted the usual schedule as the vast public expenditure it caused meant the Treasury felt obliged to make major announcements on a more frequent basis.

Budget announcements generally tend to be split into two parts:

  • a summary of the economic situation
  • a detailed account of the tax changes needed to raise the necessary amount of money

Typically, they last between one to two hours.

When is the Spring Budget 2022?

The Spring Statement 2022 is set to take place today (Wednesday 23 March).

Rishi Sunak will begin his speech once Prime Ministers Questions has finished at around 12.30pm.

When he has finished speaking, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves will give a statement to MPs on the Budget.

It comes at a crucial time for households up and down the UK.

Today has also seen an announcement from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that prices rose 6.2% in February 2022, with worse still to come as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The Ofgem energy price cap is also set to rise next Friday (1 April), pushing up electricity and gas prices for millions of people.

What will Rishi Sunak announce?

It is unknown exactly what the Chancellor will announce during the Spring Statement.

However, it is almost certain that Mr Sunak will reveal measures designed to tackle the cost of living crisis.

He will also respond to a forecast from public body the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which is set to be published on the day of his speech.

Rishi Sunak said during the BBC’s Sunday Morning political programme that he could not fully protect people from the rising cost of living, but added: “Where we can make a difference, of course we will.”

There has been speculation from the Sun on Sunday that Mr Sunak will announce a policy-light speech.

In recent weeks, he has pointed to existing policies he says will ameliorate the cost of living crisis, like the fuel duty freeze and the tax cut for Universal Credit claimants - suggesting he may feel the Government is currently doing enough.

The Chancellor has also already brought in extra measures aimed at tackling the cost of living, including the energy bills loan and the council tax rebate.

But experts, including Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis, say more needs to come from the Government or else there could be 10 million people in fuel poverty over the next year.

One idea to tackle heating bills that Rishi Sunak is believed to have rubber-stamped, according to The Times, is to hand out cheap taxpayer-backed loans to help homeowners install heat pumps, solar panels and other measures to improve home energy efficiency.

On the BBC on Sunday (20 March), Rishi Sunak did not rule out a cut to fuel duty - something which would have cross-party support as Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves has already backed a 5p cut.

The Chancellor could be set to intervene at the petrol pump in his Spring Statement (image: AFP/Getty Images)

Changes could also be made to National Insurance.

The Government has thus far pushed back against calls from the opposition, Conservative backbench MPs and businesses to delay a National Insurance hike that was announced in the autumn budget.

However, there are reports in the Telegraph suggesting a partial rethink could be taking place ahead of Wednesday, with at least five cabinet ministers said to be behind deferring the rise.

Rishi Sunak is also being urged to alter the Universal Credit taper rate (the amount which you can earn before your state benefit payments are reduced).

The Guardian has reported that the Chancellor could have the scope to do make tax cuts like this because Government pandemic borrowing in 2021 was lower than forecast.

One policy area which appears set to go untouched in the Spring Statement is pensions, with Department for Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey all-but-guaranteeing pensioners an 8% increase for 2023 by telling MPs the ‘triple lock’ would remain in place until the next General Election.

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