Budget could be delayed after Sajid Javid’s resignation, Cabinet minister confirms
The Budget may not go ahead as planned on 11 March after Sajid Javid resigned as Chancellor, Cabinet minister Grant Shapps has admitted.
The set-piece fiscal event had been pencilled in for mid-March under Mr Javid, who dramatically quit this week after being asked by Downing Street to sack his team of advisors.
It would have marked the first Budget since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister - with an earlier attempt cancelled last Autumn as the Government pushed to hold a general election.
The subsequent March 11 date had originally been set in January, with ministers vowing to use the announcement to kickstart a "decade of renewal" for Britain.
But, asked whether the Budget would go ahead as planned under Mr Javid's successor, Mr Shapps told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge: “I know the Budget plans are well-advanced but I also know that Rishi Sunak, the new Chancellor, may want time.”
The Transport Secretary added: “I haven’t heard that the date in March is confirmed as yet, he is probably looking at that I should think this week, so I’ll leave it to the Treasury to announce that.
“But I just have to say, Rishi… he’ll be a terrific Chancellor of the Exchequer I think and whenever the budget is, I’m sure it will be a huge success.”
The admission comes after allies of Mr Javid accused the Prime Minister's team of trying to undermine him in an effort to force the Treasury to ramp up spending on public services and order tax cuts.
One told The Sun that Number 10 had been “undermining the Chancellor from the beginning, by briefing he is weak and pretending you’re driving policy".
The former chancellor had reportedly been under increasing pressure to ditch the Government's fiscal rules, which were loosened before the election to allow more borrowing but still required the Government to run a balanced current budget.
Another ally of Mr Javid said of the rules: “No10 didn’t understand the need for them, and they didn’t then really understand what they had signed up to afterwards.
“Those conversations started to get really difficult in the last two weeks, as we explained they couldn’t do everything without putting up taxes.”
Mr Shapps confirmed that the Treasury and Number 10 teams - which will now be merged into a joint unit following Mr Javid's exit - had not been working "hand in glove".
Speaking of his own team, the Transport Secretary said: "The way that my special advisors work, is I want them to be working closely with Number 10, I want them to be delivering the same policy and we’ve got this massive agenda of levelling up the country and uniting the country and that’s best done when we are all on the same page and singing from the same hymn sheet…
"I’d be pretty concerned if my advisors weren’t working hand in glove, that would be a concern to me let alone to Number 10."