Budget 2021: Laura Kuenssberg's analyses Rishi Sunak's plans
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Rishi Sunak took on the role of Chancellor of the Exchequer shortly before the first Covid lockdown took hold and since that time he has shown himself as a strong prime minister contender with a likely prosperous political future. A recent poll of Conservative Party members revealed Rishi Sunak is the most likely candidate to one day replace Boris Johnson as PM. Given the Covid pandemic during Mr Sunak’s tenure, his role has been extremely public-facing as the UK economy and financial plan has had a huge impact on Britons – a key factor helping to drive up his popularity according to experts.
Rishi Sunak’s personal ratings are sky-high at the moment with 36 percent popularity according to a YouGov poll for Q3 2021.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson ranks in second place with 34 percent, followed by Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham at 31 percent.
The popularity ranking shows the percentage of people who have a positive opinion of the politician or political figure.
This means of all the public figures listed, Mr Sunak garnered the best response from the most people.
In particular, the Chancellor had a rate of 37 percent popularity with millennials, compared to just 28 percent with Generation X.
Popularity with baby boomers was put at 43 percent, however, this was in second place to the PM who was five percentage points higher.
Mr Sunak was more popular with male adults polled with a rate of 35 percent, which is slightly behind his popularity with women at 36 percent.
Mr Johnson was two percentage points behind with males polled, compared to an equal ranking when it came to women polled.
Mr Sunak is disliked by 33 percent of those polled according to YouGov and 27 percent said they had a neutral opinion of the Chancellor.
He has ranked as the most popular chancellor since Gordon Brown in several polls over the last year.
According to current rankings – Gordon Brown has a popularity rating of 26 percent, which is 10 percentage points behind the current Chancellor.
Sajid Javid, Mr Sunak’s predecessor and the current Health Secretary, has a popularity rating of 23 percent – 13 percentage points behind the current Chancellor.
Mr Sunak is a massive 26 percentage points ahead of former chancellor George Osbourne’s current ranking of 10 percent and 21 percentage points ahead of Philip Hammond.
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The Chancellor of the Exchequer has faced many questions about his intentions for the future of his career.
Many have been quick to ask if he wishes to capitalise on his popularity with the public and take on the top job one day.
When asked about his desire to one day become prime minister ahead of the Budget statement on Wednesday, Mr Sunak sidestepped the question.
Good Morning Britain host Adil Ray asked if Mr Sunak was open to becoming the next PM.
In response, Mr Sunak said: “My job is to ensure that we recover strongly from coronavirus and start delivering now on all the things we announced yesterday.
“It is all very well standing up and announcing lots of money for things but I think your viewers should rightly hold us to account.
“Holding us to account that their experience of all these public services, that we are now funding very well, actually improve.
“My job and all ministers’ jobs is to get on and deliver that for people. That is what we are all united in focussing on right now.”
Last week, Mr Sunak dismissed questions about his desire to take on the PM role saying he is “tired enough anyway”.
Speaking to The Times, Mr Sunak dismissed questions about whether he sees himself as a potential successor for Mr Johnson.
Instead, he said his immediate priorities include charting the course for the country’s recovery through the prospect of a Bank of England rate hike, a global supply chain crisis and a rise in Covid cases.
During the Budget, Mr Sunak indicated there will likely be hard times ahead, but despite this, he could not have been clearer – he intends to get taxes down before the next general election – a move which will likely see his popularity boost.
The Resolution Foundation think tank estimates the average household will have paid an extra £3,000 since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister by 2026/2027.
Middle-income families will see their income fall by two percent in real terms.
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