image captionThe Budget makes the lead for most of Thursday’s newspapers. The Daily Telegraph says Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a five-year personal tax “raid” that will bring in more than £21bn, as the bill for the government’s pandemic spending was “finally laid bare”. The chancellor froze thresholds for income tax, inheritance tax, capital gains tax and the pensions lifetime allowance, meaning millions of people will pay more to the Treasury.
image captionThe Metro says the chancellor has “gambled” £65m on a quick recovery out of the pandemic in what it calls an “historic Budget spending spree”. In delivering his Budget, the chancellor insisted the economy would grow by more than 11% in the next two years. But he warned the UK’s £407bn Covid bill must be paid in the future.
image captionThe Financial Times describes it as a “spend now, tax later Budget” that aims to drag the economy out of the Covid crisis by boosting business investment before introducing the largest tax rises on companies and households for a generation. The paper says Mr Sunak is the first chancellor to raise corporation taxes since Labour’s Denis Healey in 1974.
image captionThe chancellor will raise taxes to the highest levels since the 1960s, reports the Times. From 2023 corporation tax will rise from 19% to 25% for the most profitable companies, in a move that will raise almost £50bn over he next five years. The paper says the wealthiest fifth of households will pay an average of £826 more a year in taxes, while lower earning households will pay an extra £56.
image captionThe Guardian says the chancellor has, in effect, told Britain’s businesses and millions of middle-earners that they will pay the price of the government’s year-long fight against Covid-19, with the biggest tax increases since 1993. Repeatedly stressing the devastating impact of the pandemic, Mr Sunak spoke on Wednesday of the need to “begin fixing the public finances.”
image captionThe i quotes a leading economist as saying the UK’s taxes are likely to reach the “highest sustained level in history”. It notes that the recovery package for jobs, hospitality, the High Street and culture sector has been questioned by Labour.
image caption“The only way is sup”, the Sun puns, saying the chancellor did all he could to “lift spirits and see the UK through Covid” by freezing alcohol and fuel duty and extending furlough. But it adds that it was a “bittersweet” Budget with the cost having to be paid back eventually.
image caption“Our recovery begins today” is the Daily Express’s take. It notes that the chancellor extended the furlough scheme until October and promised coronavirus victims “a fairer country”.
image captionAway from the Budget, the Daily Mail reports that the Queen has launched an “unprecedented inquiry” into allegations that Meghan and Harry bullied their staff. Claims that the Duchess of Sussex inflicted “emotional cruelty” on aides and “drove them out” were “very” concerning, Buckingham Palace said.
image captionThe Daily Mirror says the Queen “went to war” with Harry and Meghan by ordering a probe into the allegations. The couple have described the story as part of a smear campaign, but the Mirror says a royal insider branded that suggestion “ludicrous”.
image caption“Unhappy families” is the Daily Star’s take on the developments, riffing on the board game Happy Families. It urges readers who are bored with jigsaw puzzles to play along with an exciting new game “the whole family can enjoy”.