Kwasi Kwarteng thinks Britain needs to give millionaires huge handouts and concrete over the country. He’s wrong

Kwasi Kwarteng came to the Commons determined to bury the politics of redistribution. But the Conservative chancellor revived it with a “mini-budget” that attached rocket boosters on to bankers’ pay, gave millionaires a £40,000 handout by abolishing the top rate of tax and cut levies for businesses and buy-to-let landlords. It is in a cost of living crisis that Mr Kwarteng has chosen to show his true colours. Ordinary families are choosing between heating and eating. The nation’s public services are falling apart. The chancellor’s medicine for such ailments is to shower money – and to loosen regulatory safeguards – on the City, energy companies and housebuilders.

These were not policies characterised by a withering away of the state but those conducted by an interventionist administration. The government is borrowing around £200bn this year to place the commanding heights of economic policy in the hands of an asset-owning class. Some of this money will be used to keep energy bills low for households and companies facing an inflationary shock. But a large chunk will be handed to the wealthiest in society. The New Economics Foundation calculates that the chancellor’s plan will see incomes for the poorest 10% of families on average this year fall behind rising costs by £900, while incomes for the richest 5% will exceed them by £8,500.

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