Politics | Economics | Citizenship | PSHE

Five big ideas that WON’T be in the budget

Big day: Jeremy Hunt will set out his first full budget since taking over from Kwasi Kwarteng last year.

Should Jeremy Hunt be more radical? Tomorrow, the UK's latest chancellor will set out his first budget. Many believe it is a chance to reset society for generations to come. Tomorrow morning will see one of the world’s greatest pieces of political theatre unfold: the annual UK budget. The Chancellor of the ExchequerThe chancellor of the Exchequer, often just called the chancellor, is the UK government's chief finance minister. They are in charge of taxation and government spending and borrowing. , Jeremy Hunt, will leave 11 Downing StreetThe chancellor's official residence. at midday, carrying the iconic dark red suitcase that holds all his spending plans for the coming year. At 12.30, he will stand before the despatch boxAn ornate wooden box on the floor of the chamber of the House of Commons, where government speakers traditionally stand to make speeches. in the House of Commons. There he will speak for one hour, without breaks or interruptions, laying out his plans. Then he will have to defend them from the questions — some fierce, some friendly — of his fellow MPsMembers of Parliament. MPs are elected to represent people in 650 different geographical areas. . Although we will not know for sure what is in the budget until Hunt announces it, rumours are already circulating. Some claim that there will be a £20bn investment in technology to reduce carbon emissions. Others say the biggest news will be on plans to get the over-50s and people with disabilities back into work. Still more are discussing not what could be in the budget, but what should be. They argue that as Britain emerges from the pandemic and sets out an economic path post-Brexit, there is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reshape the economy and society. After the devastation of World War Two, following the Beveridge ReportThe study recommended a welfare state to solve five major social problems: poverty, illness, lack of education, poor living conditions and unemployment., the government introduced a radical set of new ideas. They built the modern welfare stateA safety net put in place by the government to ensure that no-one falls into poverty., founded the National Health Service, and brought key industries into public ownershipA situation in which the state, on behalf of the people, owns and operates an industry.. Now, some argue, we should respond to today's challenges in the same way, seizing the chance to change things for the better. Here are five radical ideas that some experts are suggesting. Cities without cars. Before the pandemic, around 20% of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions came from road transport. Thanks to home working, with far fewer people driving into offices, this has fallen dramatically. For years, the government has been trying to coax cars out of city centres to reduce congestion and increase air quality: this is a chance to banish cars from cities for good. Guaranteed jobs. High street shops — especially clothing stores — have struggled for many years. For many, Covid-19 was the final straw. Hundreds of thousands of people have been left out of work. The government could set up a National Jobs Service that would employ people who are unable to find work anywhere else, at the state’s expense. Basic income for everyone. Some economists suggest that if the government gave everyone £2,000 a month, with no conditions attached, it would offer them the time and flexibility to contribute in original ways to society and the economy. This is called Universal Basic Income, or UBI. Zero-carbon buildings. Houses and offices generate almost 40% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. If the government ensured that all new buildings are completely carbon-neutralA project is carbon-neutral if it absorbs, locks in or converts as much carbon dioxide as it emits., it would have a huge impact on climate breakdown. Tax on robots. Right now, every time a company automates a job, human beings lose their livelihoods. If companies were taxed every time they introduced a robot to do a human’s job, the money could be reinvested in retraining the people it replaced. Automation would then work for low-paid people, not against them. Should Jeremy Hunt be more radical? Pound for pound Yes: The economy has been transformed in recent years. There are fewer people in our city centres and governments are spending more than they ever have before. We need a budget for the new world, one that harnesses these changes for our benefit. No: The government is already spending too much and needs to be reined in — not encouraged to spend even more. Once we have dealt with today's issues, we can think of more radical ideas. Or... Radical plans should not be set out first in the budget. Everybody should get the chance to have their say on big ideas in a general electionIn the UK, when an election is held for all 650 members of the House of Commons. One must take place every five years. . KeywordsChancellor of the Exchequer - The chancellor of the Exchequer, often just called the chancellor, is the UK government's chief finance minister. They are in charge of taxation and government spending and borrowing.

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