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IEA responds to Chancellor’s economic update

Mark Littlewood, Director General at the free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, responded to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s economic statement 

“Responsible long-term management of the economy requires the Chancellor to commit to running budget surpluses in normal times so as to ensure we can ride out the bad times more easily. No government has succeeded in balancing the books for twenty years. Rishi Sunak should commit to doing so as soon as the economy returns to health.”

IEA Head of Lifestyle Economics Christopher Snowdon said:

“With light at the end of the tunnel, the government needs to ensure that businesses don’t go bust now. A £9,000 cash grant is simply not enough to see many firms through to March. Having borrowed and spent so much during the pandemic, it would be a false economy for Mr Sunak to hold back in the final months.”

But IEA Economics Fellow Julian Jessop said:

“Rather than announce any additional measures, the Chancellor is clearly hoping that the economic outlook will be a lot brighter by the March Budget and that any further support can wait until then. Hopefully, none will be necessary, given the enormous amount that is already available, as well as the game-changing rollout of new vaccines.”

Notes to editors

For media enquiries, please contact Emily Carver, Head of Media, on 07715942731 or

IEA spokespeople are available for further comment and interview.

For further IEA reading on the state of the public finances, click here.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems. The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.

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