The first budget for British prime minister Boris Johnson was supposed to deliver funding to 'level up' the newly Conservative constituencies in the north of England.
Instead, it will be a pandemic budget.
Newly minted chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak will find himself unveiling a raft of emergency measures later today aimed at propping up the economy as the coronavirus tightens its grip.
Even though the UK has shrunk in relative importance, it remains one of our key trading partners. Goods exports to Britain last year totalled €13.5bn.
Yesterday, Britain's influential Institute of Directors called on Mr Sunak, who took office only four weeks ago, to "take swift action to help cash-strapped businesses".
Even though the UK economy is growing faster than that of the European Union, it is doing so at a slower pace than it would have done had the country remained a member of the bloc.
Potential growth is likely to be below trend for years to come.
"We think there will be a shift in the balance of policy measures away from investment spending … and towards day-to-day spending and tax measures," said Elizabeth Martins, senior economist at HSBC.
"But we would not expect this package of measures to exceed £4bn (€4.6bn)," she added in a research report.
Mr Johnson's surprisingly large parliamentary majority in December's election came from a series of shock wins in working class constituencies, as the Labour Party's 'red wall' collapsed.
To retain his majority in future elections, he had pledged to tackle the huge inequalities between London and the prosperous south of England, versus the poorer north.
According to consultancy Oxford Economics, the average weekly wage in London in 2010 was 36pc higher than in the rest of the south, which in turn was 8pc higher than in the rest of the UK.
By 2019, the rest of the south had slightly narrowed the gap with London, but the rest of the UK had not.
Although the unemployment rate has fallen faster in London than elsewhere, that is linked to the fact that it was, and remains, rather higher.
"The fiscal backdrop offers some favourable optics that support a 'giveaway' budget," said Martin Beck, the lead UK economist at Oxford Economics.
"Having peaked at over 10pc of gross domestic product in 2009-10, the deficit now sits at around 2pc of GDP," Mr Beck wrote in a budget report.
Mr Sunak took office after the resignation of Sajid Javid. He is an ardent Brexiteer and supports cuts to corporation tax and capital gains tax, as well as expanded infrastructure spending.
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