Events and outbreaks means Rishi Sunak’s flagship budget must wait | Richard Partington

The coronavirus will reduce budget 2020 from a big bucks curtain raiser for Boris Johnson’s Toryism to a disaster relief statement

Not since Denis Healey in 1974 has a chancellor had so little time to prepare for a budget. With just four weeks in his new role – only a week more than Healey had to prepare – Rishi Sunak had been expected to deliver one of the most important budgets since the financial crisis. Here at last was a Conservative majority, the biggest since Margaret Thatcher in 1987, affording him the space to define Boris Johnson’s brand of Toryism.

Not for the first time, the Treasury’s freedom will be distinctly limited. Faced with the unfolding economic crisis from the coronavirus, the new chancellor has been forced to rip up his plans and start again. For now, the flagship budget once envisaged must wait.

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