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COMMENT: We all love Rishi, the loadsamoney minister

By Toby Neal | Opinions | Published:

The man's gone mad.

Rishi Sunak in a week filled with photo opportunities

If he had wads of notes he could give out to deserving causes in the street, he probably would.

We are living in strange and unprecedented times, but even so, the amount of government money being splashed out is astonishing. George Osborne was an austerity Chancellor. Rishi Sunak seems to have a bottomless pit of dosh.

It's conceivable that a Jeremy Corbyn administration with John McDonnell as Chancellor would have been an era of restraint and prudence compared to the Rishi Sunak giveaway.

He's forked out more than £6 billion to support the National Health Service during the pandemic. I don't recall seeing that on the side of any bus.

And a lot of the PPE stuff it's paying for is designed to be used once and then thrown away. Why are environmentalists not calling for the development of equipment that is safely reuseable?

Vast new hospitals have been built and are standing virtually unused.

Now he's paying half our meal bills and giving large sums to employers to keep on workers which a lot of them would probably be keeping on anyway.

Rishi is a popular man at the moment, and marked out as a star, potentially even a future Prime Minister.

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A prudent career move for him, then, would be to have a disagreement with Boris Johnson and resign on a matter of principle. As a young man, there is still plenty of time for the Chancellor to stage a triumphant political comeback.

Because he has lit the fuse on a ticking time bomb for the public finances, sown the seeds of a tidal wave of national debt, and is throwing out showers of coins which will boomerang.

Politically and economically, Rishi Sunak has no choice but to do what he is doing, because this is a national emergency, and the fear of coronavirus of the past few months is now starting to be eclipsed by fear of the devastating economic consequences.

He can however be judged on whether he is spending this mountain of taxpayers' cash wisely. A top taxman warned this week that some of Rishi's plans do not represent value for money. We're getting too few bangs for our bucks, as the Americans would say.

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Inevitably some time down the line the Chancellor is going to have to find a way to fund his generosity. At that point, instead of handing out money to ordinary people, he will become a mugger and nobody will be raising their glasses to him any more.

His measures will mean the jobs misery unfolding at pace now will not be quite as terrible as it would otherwise be, and we're thankful for that. But it will be bad enough.

He says the country is heading for one of the most severe recessions we have ever seen, and has said sorry for not being able to help everyone.

Rishi sounds like one of those doomsters and gloomsters that Boris doesn't like.

Perhaps he'll sack him.

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.

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