The UK Government will reveal its taxation and spending plans for the next year in its upcoming Budget announcement on Wednesday 27 October.
It announced on Monday that among the proposals for increased public spending are plans to increase the National Living Wage and minimum wage for UK workers, with the boost taking effect from April 1, 2022.
The Budget comes as coronavirus cases once again spike across the country.
40,954 new positive Covid cases were reported in the UK on Tuesday 26 October – with 2,262 cases reported in Scotland.
But what time is the Budget today and what can we expect from Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s unusual Autumn Budget 2021?
What is the Budget?
Every spring, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, head of Her Majesty’s Treasury, outlines the government’s plans for taxation and spending for the next year in a Budget statement delivered to UK members of parliament (MPs) in the House of Commons.
The Budget is held alongside an independent report on the state of the economy from the Office for Budgetary Responsibility, which oversees government spending.
Usually falling once a year in March, the Chancellor – in this case, Rishi Sunak – announces the government’s policies around spending, benefits and tax taking effect over the following 12 months.
The last Budget was held in March 2021 when Mr Sunak announced the phasing out of the UK Government’s coronavirus relief packages such as the furlough scheme and universal credit uplift.
What time is the Budget 2021 today?
Chancellor Rishi Sunak will deliver the Autumn Budget on Wednesday, October 27 at round 12.30pm in the House of Commons.
The Budget announcement typically lasts for an hour, with shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves expected to put forward the Opposition’s response to the Government’s proposals immediately afterwards.
What can we expect from the Autumn Budget 2021?
A number of Autumn Budget proposals have already been announced by the UK Government ahead of its full Budget reveal on Wednesday.
The national minimum wage is set to rise from £8.36 to £9.18 for anyone aged 21-22, while the Living Wage will be increased from £8.91 to £9.50 as par of the Autumn Budget.
Rishi Sunak's second Budget of the year will focus on "looking to the future and building a stronger economy for the British people", the Chancellor has said.
Mr Sunak's previous budgets in March 2021 and 2020 had been heavily focused on supporting the country through the coronavirus pandemic.
But now the Chancellor says he is keen to focus on skills, innovation, and economic growth, and said it was crucial that public finances were returned to a stable footing.
Speaking to Times Radio on Sunday, Mr Sunak said that "(over) the last year, I've been focused on delivering our plan for jobs, protecting people's livelihoods, their incomes, their jobs.”
But he added it was now time to shore up the economy to weather any future storms, telling BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: "That means strong investment in public services, driving economic growth by investing in infrastructure, innovation and skills, giving businesses confidence, and then supporting working families.
"Those are the ingredients of what makes a stronger Budget and that's what we will deliver next week."
But the Chancellor faces a number of challenges, not least a warning from the Bank of England's new chief economist that inflation could rise above 5%.
Mr Sunak said that would "certainly feed into my thinking about what the right approach to the country is.”
Additional reporting by the Press Association (PA)