Rishi Sunak leaves Downing Street for his annual budget

Rishi Sunak’s Budget doesn’t do enough to repair the damage caused by the pandemic

Or #FiskalPolicyaboutfiscalpolicy

Earlier this week I heard about a teenager who was standing at a tram stop screaming about how she wanted to die. She was harming herself.

Thankfully people disregarded the two metres rule and went to her aid. They called 999 and she was taken to hospital by ambulance. Hopefully she has now started to get the help she needs.

Rishi Sunak - Parliament.TV
Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled his Budget in the House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon (Picture from Parliamentlive.tv/)
If they really care about the NHS then why don’t they show their appreciation by ensuring it is properly funded?

The day after treating this patient at the hospital nurses received the news that the Government thinks they are worth a pay rise.

But Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Prime Minister Boris Johnson seem to be saying the staff should line their pockets with the claps from the first lockdown because they are only offering a 1% increase.

The Prime Minister says it is all the Government can afford – but workers at Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs are getting a bumper 13% deal, which doesn’t seem like it’s the right way round at all.

The Minister of State for Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and Patient Safety Nadine Dorries weighed in on the situation with this ill-judged tweet about a conversation she said she had with a nurse.

Nadine Dorries tweet
Nadine Dorries weighed in to the 1% nurse payrise row with this tweet (Picture from Twitter)

If the conversation is to be believed the nurse said she couldn’t afford her mortgage if it was just one salary, but could because her husband is on furlough so is still earning money rather than having lost his job in the Covid crisis.

Wouldn’t this be the case for most couples – whether there has been a pandemic or not? It is always easier to pay a mortgage when there are two people paying it.

Is Nadine saying all nurses should get married otherwise they will never be able to afford homes?

Does this mean there really is no such thing as affordable housing for key workers because they earn too little to be able to get a mortgage? Maybe this means they need a pay rise – 1% – oh.

With 1% being the next stick the Tories can beat themselves with before doing a u-turn and agreeing to give them more, let’s look and what else happened in financial land this week.

Rishi Sunak - Parliament.TV2
Rishi Sunak’s Budget was missing a lot of details about how the Government is going to help people recover from the pandemic (Picture from Parliamentlive.tv/)
Beer pumps
Duty has been frozen on alcohol (“my heart is broken…beer pump” by tribehut is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)
Petrol pumps
And on petrol (“Petrol Station” by Images_of_Money is licensed under CC BY 2.0)

Rishi Sunak announced his Budget in the House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon.

He spoke for around 52 minutes on schemes that are supposed to help Britain bounce back after the pandemic. They include an extension of the furlough scheme until September, a national infrastructure bank and 5% deposit mortgages, as well as a continuation of the stamp duty holiday.

He was also proud of himself for freezing the duty on petrol and alcohol.

Freezing these two things is great because it will make all the other issues people have just disappear (or so Rishi Sunak seems to think).

Yes, he believes there is no need to announce proper funding for the NHS because everyone driving to hospital isn’t paying more money for their fuel to get there.

NHS nurses protest
The placard says it all (“Better Pay For NHS Nurses Rally – Sheffield” by Tim Dennell is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0)
NHS nurses protest 2
This picture was taken last August but the message is still relevant (“Better Pay For NHS Nurses Rally – Sheffield” by Tim Dennell is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0)
This video is from the States but shows how nurses have been working during the pandemic

Yes, the girl who was harming herself at the tram stop can now live her life safe in the knowledge that when she is old enough to buy alcohol it won’t cost much more than it does now.

Yes, the first time buyers who now only need a 5% deposit can put aside every anxiety they have as a result of the pandemic and get to their overpriced “Help to Buy”, so more expensive than a normal property, home sooner.

I’ve had a few days to think about the Budget and I still cannot understand why Rishi Sunak thought it was acceptable to design one with so many holes.

He said it is to help get Britain bouncing back after the pandemic.

I say to get a country to bounce back you have to fix the issues people are having.

Help to Buy David Cameron
The then Prime Minister David Cameron (remember him?) visited Sharon Ray in Southampton in 2013 to talk about how she bought her home using the Help to Buy scheme (“PM David Cameron on Help to Buy visit in Southampton” by UK Prime Minister is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Samaritans on bridge
Help is available for anyone struggling during the pandemic (“Mental Health – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Sheffield, UK” by Tim Dennell is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0)
Is mental health the real pandemic Sky News asks

The pandemic has caused unparalleled damage to people’s health – with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, getting through the day as best as they can while suffering from mental health issues caused by the pandemic.

They have lost loved ones, they have lost jobs, they have lost their sense of self and their sense of self-worth.

They are depressed, they are anxious, they are suffering from eating disorders, they are deeply lonely because they haven’t seen anyone for weeks.

They are at risk of these problems blighting them for the rest of their lives if support is not available for them now.

But where is this support? Where is the help to truly get Britons to bounce back from the pandemic?

Nurse gives flu jab
The Chancellor hopes his Budget will be the shot in the arm the economy needs (“Nurse gives flu jab” by NHSE is licensed under CC BY 2.0)
Rishi Sunak Covid-19 Press Conference
This photo dates from near the start of the first lockdown – when things were bad but not really really bad (Picture by Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street – “Rishi Sunak Covid-19 Press Conference” by UK Prime Minister is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Rishi Sunak leaves Downing Street for his annual budget
On Wednesday the Chancellor Rishi Sunak left Downing Street to deliver his annual budget in parliament (Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street)

Rishi Sunak thought it didn’t even deserve a mention in his Budget.

Tell that to the girl who was screaming at the tram stop and self-harming.

She was taken to hospital and will have been treated for her physical wounds. But will likely spend a long time waiting for treatment for the mental scars of the pandemic – because children and adolescent mental health services are drastically underfunded and seemingly undervalued by the Government.

Stay safe for another week!