RISHI Sunak has revealed there are no plans for an Eat Out to Help Out mark 2 because high streets will “spring back” after lockdown.
The Chancellor said families are eager to spend a big chunk of the £180billion savings chest they have amassed during the pandemic.
But he also admitted he has sleepless nights worrying about the number of Brits who will lose their job as the recession bites.
And he hinted higher taxes and a bigger state could be here for years to come as the UK pays down its Covid debts.
Mr Sunak told the Treasury select committee there is a huge amount of pent up consumer demand ready to be unleashed after lockdown.
He said: “Consumption, it looks like, can and will spring back reasonably quickly once things are reopened.”
Asked if Treasury boffins are considering another scheme like Eat Out To Help Out to incentivise spending, he said no.
He said: “It is not something we actively looked at for this Budget.”
He pointed to figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility showing Brits are sitting on a giant £180bn savings pile.
The financial watchdog reckons shoppers will spend at least £9bn of these savings every year.
Whereas many shoppers were too afraid to hit the high street again after the first lockdown lifted last July, all the signs point to them chomping at the bit to get out again this time round, he said.
He told MPs: “There was an enormous worry that when things reopened last year that people wouldn’t have the confidence to spend even though they had the income to.
“This time around, both in the UK and internationally, we’ve seen that you do tend to get quite a strong consumption automatically.”
But in a candid confession, the Treasury chief admitted he is “constantly kept up at night” worrying about looming rises in unemployment.
Grilled on the prospects for the economy by MPs, he also admitted that a bigger state and higher taxes could be around for some time as Britain faces the challenge of paying down its enormous Covid debt.
He said: "Obviously the Government has to raise the money to fund the public services that it is committed to delivering. So those two things always have to be in sync.
“And if there are demands on the spending side that are larger, it’s reasonable to expect those have to be paid for.
"I think most people would understand that.”
He also admitted the size of the state is "quite chunky by historic standards" but said choices on spending cuts will wait for the spending review.
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