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BBC Question Time Live: Rishi Sunak’s budget slammed – ‘Can’t be based on hot air’

Question Time: MP evades question about apologising

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The BBC’s Fiona Bruce, 57, is joined in Stockport by the Tory Treasury Minister Lucy Frazer, 49, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Bridget Phillipson, 37, Blackley-born NatWest Chairman Sir Howard Davies, 70, economist Miatta Fahnbulleh, 42, and Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Jenny Campbell, 60. Rishi Sunak’s Budget seems to be the hot topic in Greater Manchester tonight with the first question asking if the Chancellor’s announcement can go far enough to “counter the rising cost of living for working families”.

However, Brexit was also brought up in Stockport after one audience member asked if the “end of our special relationship with France” is in sight.

Just as it was during the referendum years, the audience and panel seem split on the European issue.

Sir Davies accused Boris Johnson’s Government of not really wanting to talk about the damages of Brexit but one audience member said the ongoing ‘cod war’ says a lot about the European Union’s “attitude” towards the UK.

Follow below for live updates…

‘Thank you for joining us!’ QT to return next Thursday

Fiona Bruce will travel from Stockport to Eastleigh for next week’s episode of Question Time.

The panel is yet to be announced but will include Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.

Jenny Campbell slammed on Universal Credit – ‘Cartier watch!’

A Twitter user, operating under the handle @sparkyhamill, has called out the ex-Dragons’ Den star for wearing a Cartier watch while voicing her support for ending the Universal Credit uplift.

Business woman Jenny Campbell moaning about the £20 a week uplift for the poorest whilst wearing a Cartier watch,” wrote the user on Twitter.

According to Cartier’s website, the cheapest watch currently available is worth a whopping £2,190.

The most expensive listed cost £194,000 – around the same cost as average house price in Liverpool.

‘The tide might be turning’ QT viewers see opportunity for change

A QT viewer, using the Twiter handle @hobbitoncentral, said: “Conservatives getting quite a shoeing tonight.

“The environment, more people plunged into poverty, lack of masks in the Commons, lack of a decent Covid plan and more.

“Never more deserved.

“The tide might be turning.”

‘Us and them!’ QT panel asked about MPs wearing masks in the Commons

Following Jacob Rees-Mogg’s comments about Conservative MP’s wearing masks, audience members in Stockport appeared impassioned about the number of MPs wearing face coverings in the Commons.

Two audience members suggested the UK should have made masks mandatory in an attempt to stave off future waves of COVID-19.

“I think it was really really poor form by Jacob Rees-Mogg,” one audience member said.

He went on to accuse the Leader of the House of Commons of acting “flippantly” and suggested his comments could lead to “confusion” with the general public.

‘Goes to show their attitude!’ Audience member blasts Brussels over fishing – ‘Poor fishermen’

The audience member said: “I think this is just a continuation of the attitude of EU and France and all those countries to the UK since the time of Brexit.

“Brexit is done, we have moved on and we just need to carry on but the EU and France and all the other nations still seem to have this point and try to target the UK every single time.”

He added how “it just goes to show their attitude” and pointed out how Brussels has entered into a new spat with Poland over ECJ rule.

‘Brexit wasn’t done!’ Economist challenges PM over Brexit deal

Dr Miatta Fahnbulleh says the Prime Minister must fix his Brexit deal after the OBR found Britain’s decision to depart from the European Union will have a bigger economic impact than COVID-19 and as Anglo-French fishing tensions escalate.

‘Even worse!’ NatWest chairman says Labour’s plan to cut energy bills would have been catastrophic

NatWest chairman Sir Howard Davies told the BBC’s Question Time audience Labour’s plan to cut VAT on energy would have made the Budget “even worse” as it would have made it so cheap people would’ve used more of it.

He also said the Chancellor’s air duty tax cut for domestic flights was a bad idea and referenced a time during David Cameron’s premiership that he headed up an aviation commission.

Sir Davies said the old system, now dismantled by the Chancellor, was “rational” and environmentally-friendly.

Panel divided on Sunak’s cut to air passenger duty on domestic flights

Economist Miatta Fahnbulleh and Labour MP Bridget Phillipson challegned the Chancellor’s cut to air passenger duty over its impact on climate change.

They were met with warm comments by members of the audience who echoed their concerns just days before the UN meet in Glasgow for the COP26 summit.

Lucy Frazer defended the move as an example of levelling-up and said the Government has done a “significant amount” to tackle climate change.

Jenny Campbell said it seemed like “poor timing” but said the move will help support the aviation industry and other sectors.

‘Got to live with it!’ NatWest chairman says people must live with Brexit but adapt flailing economy

NatWest’s chairman Sir Howard Davies has called on the Government to be honest about the impact of Brexit on the economy.

The comments came following the announcement by the Office for Budget Responisibility that the UK’s departure from the European Union would have a bigger impact on the British economy than COVID-19.

While he said we could not turn back the clock, Sir Davies did call on the Government to be open about “the damages being done by Brexit”.

‘Everyone wins!’ Tory Minister called out for saying Budget will leave average Brits better off

Tory Minister Lucy Frazer claimed the Chancellor’s Budget would leave “everyone on average better off”.

Ms Frazer said Treasury analysis showed those on lower incomes would be £1000 better off and the average Brit would be £500 up.

However, one of the economic experts sitting alongside her on the panel accused the Cambridgeshire MP of trying to “fiddle with figures”.

‘Out of touch!’ Economist slams Sunak ‘Optimism based on hot air’

Economist Miatta Fahnbulleh slammed the Chancellor of the Exchequer and said his measures – particularly the national living wage and Universal Credit cut – meant his Budget did not go far enough.

Ms Fahnbulleh said: “The Chancellor was upbeat, I love optimism but it can’t be based on hot air and I think for a lot of people that optimisim will feel incredibily out of touch.”

‘Definitely worse off!’ Audience member says Rishi ‘missed out’ on energy

An audience member welcomed Labour’s demand for a cut to VAT on energy and said the Chancellor had “missed out” on an opportunity as he explained how he will be worse off from Rishi Sunak’s Budget.

Following on from his intervention, a second audience member said he would be in the 70 percent that missed out and highlighted that middle-income earners were left “significantly worse off” by the Chancellor’s Budget.

NatWest chairman says Budget made ‘life worse’ for 70 percent of Brits

NatWest Chairman Sir Howard Davies told the BBC audience the Chancellor’s “inflationary” Budget has made around 70 percent of Brits worse off.

He claimed while the top had been “clobbered” the bottom 30 percent had been helped a little bit by the move.

Sir Davies even said while he did not oppose raising the minimum wage it will have an inflationary impact on the UK economy. 

Ex-Dragon says Chancellor’s Budget has been a ‘really good start’ to getting building back better

Former Dragons’ Den star Jenny Campbell responded to Labour’s Bridget Phillipson by saying the UK Government’s decision to reduce business rates was among the best decisions in Rishi Sunak’s Budget.

Speaking to the BBC’s audience in Stockport, she also said the Universal Credit taper and uplift to the minimum was a “really good start” to building back better.

“Do I think as a family – and I’ve been there myself coping with rising costs of living and limited income –  we might still have to tighten our belts for a while?

“Yes I do.

“Are we surprised about that?

“No.

“So I think it was a good start.”

‘No!’ Labour’s Shadow Secretary to the Treasury says Sunak’s Budget doesn’t go far enough

Labour’s Shadow Secretary to the Treasury, Bridget Phillipson, 37, said Rishi Sunak’s Budget has not gone far enough to help support working families in the UK.

Instead, she pointed out how the Labour Party wanted to cut VAT on gas and electricity bills.

Ms Phillipson also suggested the Chancellor should have come up with a plan for growth and productivity.

Meet the panel

Lucy Frazer is a Conservative MP for South East Cambridgeshire and Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

Bridget Phillipson is a Labour MP for Houghton and Sunderland South and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

Howard Davies is an economist and author, chairman at the NatWest group and former director of the London School of Economics.

Miatta Fahnbulleh is the chief executive of the New Economics Foundation think tank and former Labour Party and government policy adviser.

Jenny Campbell is the founder of YourCash Europe and has a 32 year career in banking.

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