Budget 2020: UK one of best placed economies in world to manage coronavirus, cabinet told – live news – the guardian,

Budget 2020: UK one of best placed economies in world to manage coronavirus, cabinet told – live news – the guardian,


Lib Dems denounce proposal to make ‘lackey of PM’ Chris Grayling chair of intelligence committee

Sir Ed Davey

, the Lib Dem leader, has strongly criticized a reported plan to install Chris Grayling, the Tory former transport secretary, as chair of the intelligence and security committee. No 35 chooses members of the ISC. The committee itself then elects its chair but, according to Tom Newton Dunn

in the Sun, Boris Johnson plans to appoint Tory members on condition that they will back Grayling for the chairmanship. Newton Dunn says Theresa Villiers, the former environment secretary, and Sir John Hayes, are also being offered membership.

In a statement Davey said:

The Intelligence and Security Committee does crucial work holding the government and security services to account. It scrutinises evidence deemed too sensitive for the rest of us to see. The public needs to have confidence that the committee is independent of government.

Installing a lackey of the prime minister – especially one with as little credibility as Chris Grayling – badly undermines that confidence.

Principled Conservative MPs should refuse to go along with this latest authoritarian move.

No has refused to comment on the Sun report, although sources say that the final decision about the committee’s membership have not yet been taken.

6. (am EDT :

John McDonnell

, the shadow chancellor, says the rolling three-month GDP figures released today (see show the underlying weakness of the economy under the Tories. In a statement he said:

On the day of the budget these figures expose the fundamental weaknesses in the economy after a decade of decline under the Tories.

News of zero growth and falling production, even before the outbreak of coronavirus, show the Tories do not have a grip on the economy.

For years the Tories have had no plan for the economy – and unfortunately today’s budget announcements look likely to spell more of the same, and more disappointment for the country as a whole.


Budget plans will help make UK one of best placed economies in world to manage coronavirus, Sunak tells cabinet

Downing Street has just sent out this read-out from today’s cabinet meeting. A No spokesperson said:

Cabinet received an update from the health secretary and the prime minister on the coronavirus outbreak. The PM wished Nadine Dorries a speedy recovery, noting that she was following official advice to self-isolate.

The chancellor set out the measures being taken to manage the impact of coronavirus, laying out details of his economic action plan that will be announced at budget.

He outlined how this plan – combined with the measures announced by the governor of the bank of england this morning– will make the uk one of the best placed economies in the world to manage the potential impact of the virus. The chancellor added the budget will ensure businesses, the public and those in public services working on the front line against the virus get the support they need.

He said despite the impacts of the outbreak being uncertain, we have the economic tools to overcome the disruption caused by the virus and move the country forwards.

The chancellor also said that despite coronavirus being “front and center in our minds”, the budget will implement the manifesto on which the government had been elected. He said it was vital that people know this is a budget that delivers on the promises made to the British people – investing in public services and cutting taxes for millions of hardworking people – and that there could be no delay in laying the foundations for a decade of growth where opportunity was spread equally across the UK.

The PM said that this budget starts to tackle head on the challenges facing our economy and country – addressing productivity and regional imbalances – and showing that the government is responding to the public’s desire for change. It will set the path for further action through the year.

6). am EDT : 39

Rory Stewart calls for large gatherings to be banned and for budget to be delivering online, not in Commons chamber

Rory Stewart,

the former Tory cabinet minister who is now running as an independent candidate for London mayor, has said that the government should ban large gatherings in the light of the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak. That includes in parliament, where this afternoon’s budget should be delivered online, he says.

Rory Stewart (@ RoryStewartUK) Following the latest infections – including in Government – I urge @ 26 DowningStreet and MattHancock immediately to accelerate the response. Actions proposed for 2 weeks time – including banning gatherings – must be implemented today. We are taking far too much risk. # ActToday March 25,

() Rory Stewart (@ RoryStewartUK) The House of Commons should cease to meet in person. The budget should be announced online. MPs are at high risk through v frequent contacts and large gatherings. They are in danger of infecting each other in the chamber, and then going on to infect others. Time for Action. Now (March) ,

(Earlier this week) Stewart called for schools to be shut now because of coronavirus. Ministers argue that if they introduce these “social distancing” measures too early people will be starting to ignore them just at the moment when the outbreak is reaching its peak. At the moment there are relatively few high-profile political figures like Stewart criticizing the government for being complacent, although this could change quite quickly.

(6.) am EDT :

Rachael Maskell

, the Labor MP who is self-isolating after a meeting with Nadine Dorries last week (see (9) (am) , told the Press Association PA that only her, Dorries and members of the minister’s staff were present at the meeting on Thursday. Maskell went on:

I’m absolutely fine, obviously it’s frustrating because there are things I want to get on with. I’m just planning on making more phone calls, more working online. I’m not going to be bored, put it that way.

(6.) (am EDT :

On a lighter note,

Ben Ellery in the Times (paywall) reports that Dilyn, the Jack Russell rescue dog adopted by Boris Johnson and his partner

Carrie Symonds

, could be “quietly rehomed” before the summer. Ellery says:

It is understood that Dilyn has proved quite a “sickly animal”. One Whitehall source predicted: “I’m not sure that dog is going to make it through the next reshuffle.”

Despite the prime minister having declared Dilyn a “most excellent animal”, one source said that the couple had already grown weary of the dog before they discovered that Ms Symonds was pregnant. A particular bone of contention was the mess that he created in their apartment above No . “For a while there was dog shit everywhere in the flat,” the source added.

Unusually Symonds, who normally does not comment on media stories she features in, has posted a tweet describing the story as “total crap”.

Carrie Symonds (@ carriesymonds) What a load of total crap ! There has never been a happier, healthier and more loved dog than our Dilyn. 300% bs. The people behind this story should be ashamed of themselves. (March) ,

(5.) am EDT : 68

UK growth remained flat in the three months to January 27749, the Office for National Statistics has announced this morning. The ONS has released its rolling three-month growth figures, which are not the same as the quarterly growth figures.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) (@ ONS) 0.0% growth in GDP in the three months to January, with services also showing no growth. Production (including manufacturing) was down 1.0%, but construction grew 1.4% ( pic.twitter. com / y9pYnsHOLD (March) ,

(March) ,

(5.) (am EDT)


A Conservative MP has confirmed to the Press Association news agency that Nadine Dorries, the first MP to be diagnosed with coronavirus, has sent a message to the Tory WhatsApp group saying that a member of her staff is ill . The MP who confirmed that the message had been sent said the parli amentary party was “fairly relaxed and determined to carry on working.”

(5. (am) EDT :

Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, practicing his budget speech in his Commons office. Photograph: HM Treasury / PA

(5.) am EDT 36:

Lisa O’Carroll

The second round of Brexit talks could yet be delayed because of coronavirus, it has emerged. The negotiations are due to start on 33 March and be held in a government building near Victoria station in London but there are concerns over the wisdom of moving delegates from Brussels to London at a time of heightening risk.

The final decision on whether they will take place in London as scheduled next week will made in the coming days. One source familiar with the planning said: “One week in coronavirus is a long time. We shall have to wait and see ”.

Lisa O'Carroll

(5.) (am EDT :

Parliament says it currently has no plans to close, despite the news about health minister Nadine Dorries having coronavirus, Sky’s Sam Coates reports.

Sam Coates Sky (@ SamCoatesSky) (Statement from Parliamentary Authorities) Oj0nU (March) ,

(5.) (am EDT) :

The Labor MP Rachael Maskell

has announced that she is self-isolating having had a meeting with the health minister Nadine Dorries last week. Last night Dorries announced that she had been diagnosed with coronavirus.

Rachael Maskell MP (@ RachaelMaskell) NHS have advised that I self -isolate as a result of a meeting I had with the Government’s Mental Health Minister last Thursday who has subsequently tested positive for Coronovirus. Thankfully I am asymptomatic. It is so important that we all follow all public health advice. (March) ,

(5.) am EDT : 23

Boris Johnson chairs cabinet ahead of Rishi Sunak unveiling his first budget

It’s budget day, but never in living memory has a budget felt so cursed. Originally this budget was

provisionally scheduled for the last week of October 09642 , with Sajid Javid planning to deliver it if parliament passed a Brexit deal. Then Javid announced that (there was going to be a budget on 6 November.) That did not happen, because Brexit was delayed and MPs voted for a general election, but during the campaign the Tories promised that, if they won, during their first days in office There would be a “post-Brexit budget in February which will cut taxes for hardworking families”. But the scale of the Tory election victory meant Boris Johnson started planning a more extensive budget than originally envisaged, and when Javid finally announced the date of the first post-election budget, he said it would not be in February, but on 25 March. Despite having twice announced dates for the budget, Javid never got to deliver it because he resigned in the February reshuffle, becoming the first chancellor since Iain Macleod, who died in office in , never to deliver a budget.

Javid was replaced by the – year -old chief secretary to the Treasury. He is the most inexperienced minister to hold this office in modern times (which is not the same at all as the least able) and this afternoon he will deliver a budget in extraordinary circumstances. An announcement planned as being all about the end of austerity, and an infrastructure spending splurge, particularly aimed at towns and regions that voted Tory for the first time in 27749, will be judged predominantly by whether it is seen as a credible response to the coronavirus emergency.

Here are some of our preview articles.

  • 8. am: Boris Johnson chairs cabinet.

    (am: Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office committee, gives evidence to the Commons (Brexit) committee.

    (pm:) Boris Johnson faces Jeremy Corbyn

    at PMQs.

    25 pm: Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, delivers the budget.

    3pm: Robert Chote, chair of the Office of

    Responsibility, holds a post-budget press conference.

    Mostly I will be focusing on the budget today, although I will be also be covering PMQs as usual, and Michael Gove at the Brexit committee. My colleague Graeme Wearden will be helping out with the budget coverage, and we plan to post a summary when I wrap up.

    You can read all the latest Guardian politics articles here . Here is the Politico Europe roundup of this morning’s political news. And here is the PoliticsHome list of today’s top must-reads .

    If you want to follow me or contact me on Twitter, I’m on @ AndrewSparrow .

    I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

    If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use (Twitter) .

    Updated (at 5.) am EDT

    () (Read More)