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Rishi Sunak's Thatcher Moment? The Chancellor praises Iron Lady and praises "the individual and the family".


Rishi Sunak today seemed to take inspiration from Margaret Thatcher as he insisted that the role of government was only to promote the growth of individuals, families and communities.

The Chancellor's comments as he unveiled his spending review reflected a broader Thatcher vision of the nation, as represented by the former Prime Minister in her famous 1987 interview in which she said "There is no society".

Mr Sunak spoke to the Commons this afternoon as he set out how he plans to contain the coronavirus economic shock – using public spending and sovereign debt clearly un-Thatcher-like.

The Chancellor unveiled his crucial spending review, stating that billions of pounds are being spent getting the unemployed back to work and strengthening infrastructure, the NHS and defense to create a platform for recovery.

The background to the latest intervention was the incredibly dire outlook from the government's financial watchdog. Sunak admitted that borrowing is projected to hit £ 394 billion this year as the economy shrinks 11.3 percent – the worst recession in more than 300 years.

As he finalized his statement in front of Parliament, Sunak said, "We in government can lead the way – better schools, more houses, stronger defense, safer roads, green energy, technological development, improved rail, improved roads, all investments that Jobs will be created and give everyone in this country the chance to reach their full potential.

“But it is the individual, the family and the community that must become stronger, healthier and happier as a result. This is the real measure of our success.

Mr Sunak spoke to the Commons this afternoon as he set out how he plans to contain the coronavirus economic shock – using public spending and sovereign debt clearly un-Thatcher-like

The Chancellor's comments as he unveiled his spending review reflected a broader Thatcher vision of the nation, as represented by the former Prime Minister in her famous 1987 interview in which she said "There is no society".

The Chancellor's comments as he unveiled his spending review reflected a broader Thatcher vision of the nation, as represented by the former Prime Minister in her famous 1987 interview in which she said "There is no society".

& # 39; The editions announced today are secondary to the courage, wisdom, friendliness and creativity that they unleash. These are the incalculable but essential parts of our future, and they cannot be mandated or distributed by the government.

"These things must come from each of us and be freely shared because the future, this better country, is a shared endeavor."

Ms. Thatcher, who was Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, was famous for her testimony about the importance of small government.

Speaking to Women & # 39; s Own magazine – which she would later win – ahead of the 1987 general election, she said, “You know, there is no society. There are single men and women and there are families.

“And no government can do anything but through people, and people have to take care of themselves first. It is our duty to take care of ourselves and then also of our neighbors. & # 39;

The politician known as Iron Lady died in 2013 at the age of 87.

Mr Sunak announced today that the government will freeze public sector wages for the next year, but NHS workers and those in the worst-paid jobs will continue to receive wage increases.

The Chancellor said that while much of the private sector was hit during the coronavirus crisis, public sector workers were largely unaffected by job losses and falling wages.

From March to September, private sector wages fell 1 percent year over year, while public sector wages rose 4 percent.

In this "difficult context," Mr. Sunak said he could not justify "consistently significant" pay increases for all public sector workers.

However, he announced that NHS workers will be exempt from the wage freeze, while public sector workers with the lowest wages will be guaranteed a raise of at least £ 250 for the next year.

The Chancellor said this approach will mean that the majority of public sector workers will raise their wages.

Mr. Sunak had promised in the days leading up to the spending review that the nation would not see a return to austerity.

But the decision to cap many workers' salaries in the next year immediately sparked allegations that the Chancellor had withdrawn his word.

At lunchtime, Sunak said in the House of Commons, “Coronavirus has deepened the gap between public and private sector wages.

& # 39; In the six months to September, private sector wages were down almost one percent year over year.

“During the same period, public sector wages rose by nearly four percent and, unlike private sector workers who lost jobs, took vacation, wages and hours worked, the public sector did not.

"In such a difficult context for the private sector, especially those who work in sectors such as retail, hospitality and recreation, I cannot justify a significant overall wage increase for all public sector workers."