Sunday 16 February 2020 10:53 am

March budget may be delayed, says transport secretary Grant Shapps

The government is likely to delay next month’s budget in the wake of Sajid Javid’s resignation, according to the transport secretary.

Richmond (Yorkshire) MP Rishi Sunak was promoted to chancellor in Thursday’s cabinet reshuffle, after Javid refused to sack all of his special advisers as demanded by Boris Johnson.

Read more: Sajid Javid resigns as Downing Street turf war erupts

Sunak will now handle the country’s finances, but Downing Street staffing arrangements have been altered so there is now a combined staff between Number 10 and Number 11.

The Sunday Times reports that Sunak and Johnson will have a crunch meeting at government country manor Chevening on Tuesday to discuss details of the budget.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News this morning that the 11 March budget would likely be delayed for Sunak to get better acquainted with the new role.

“I know the budget plans are well advanced but I also know that Rishi Sunak, the new chancellor, may want time,” Shapps said.

“I haven’t heard whether the date in March is confirmed as yet.

“He’s probably looking at it this week I should think, so I’ll leave it to the Treasury to announce that.”

Sunak’s rise to chancellor comes just four-and-a-years after being elected to parliament and signals a large promotion from his previous role as chief secretary to the treasury.

The Brexiteer is seen as a Johnson loyalist and was often rolled out for media performances on the campaign trail for the 2019 election.

The new staffing arrangements in Downing Street have led some to speculate that Sunak will have greatly reduced powers and that the Treasury will be effectively run by the Prime Minister’s office.

Shapps threw his support behind Sunak this morning.

Read more: Who is Rishi Sunak? What you need to know about the new chancellor

He said: “I have to say, Rishi, who is now chancellor was a fantastic chief secretary to the Treasury – that’s the position that he’s come from previously –  we all worked with him very closely, he’ll be a terrific chancellor of the exchequer I think and whenever the budget is I think it will be a huge success for this country. 

“We’re really going to spend the next weeks, months and years levelling up this country and really trying to do the things that people want having trusted us with their support which has been loaned to us, and we intend to deliver on it.”

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