Rishi Sunak and his chancellor, Jeremy Hunt have a £50bn hole to fill in the budget. And big infrastructure projects could be on the chopping block, including the new nuclear power station in Suffolk, Sizewell C.
The nuclear power station has already had numerous delays and could cost as much as double initial forecasts. But the government was at pains to say that while the plant was “being reviewed” it would not be scrapped. Otherwise, it would put Sunak at odds with the promise to go net zero.
Another potential saver could be HS2, which again has been plagued by delays and extra costs to the taxpayer. The first phase of the new railway, between London and Birmingham is already running billions of pounds over budget. But that would put the “levelling up” mandate the Conservatives were elected on in peril.
Other options, such as changing allowances to capital gains and dividend tax, could raise extra revenue for the cash-strapped exchequer coffers. But in itself, it would be unlikely to fill the hole.