Honesty was crucial in Rishi's Spring statement - column by Matt Warman, MP for Boston & Skegness

As the chancellor stood up to announce his Spring Statement two things were obvious to everyone in the House of Commons.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The first was that Rishi Sunak’s task is immense and that we don’t yet know the true scale of it.

Unusually for a major political statement, there was no pretence that this would solve even the majority of the issues that face the country.

Instead, the chancellor was clear that he would do his best to mitigate problems that were only likely to get significantly worse over coming months.

For me this honesty is a crucial part of any political conversation and while it doesn’t directly help with household bills, it is an essential component of helping individuals to tackle their own situation.

Second was the scale of the measures the chancellor announced.

Taking 5p off the price of fuel is vital in a place such as Lincolnshire where cars will always be essential, but the truth is it does not make a really significant difference in terms of the overall price of that fuel.

Likewise, we’d all like to introduce greener energy and taking VAT off solar panels and heat pumps helps. But again, it is not the whole picture.

Ultimately the government’s commitment is to do everything it can while also bearing in mind that it needs to fund the cost of those measures, which come so soon after Covid and in the context of the war in Ukraine.

I welcome their full extent emerging over time – the Spring Statement can only be the first down payment.