IT'S been a week since the budget was announced, giving plenty of time for commentators to digest all the details.

And despite the pre-budget kite flying, and the rumours of big parliamentary rebellions, it all seems to have passed without too much fuss.

Of course, people could be forgiven for thinking they had woken up in a parallel universe, with a Conservative chancellor raising taxes whilst the Labour opposition called for tax cuts. But the challenge facing Rishi Sunak is extraordinary.

The pandemic has cost the government £407 billion in support. To put that into context, the annual budget deficit inherited in 2010 was a record breaking £156 billion.

Then, the economy had shrunk due to the financial crisis, but this time round the collapse is the biggest since the Great Frost of 1709. The scale of the challenge is simply titanic.

So, the budget took three strands: support during the crises; dealing with the colossal hole in the public finances; and delivering on the manifesto pledge to build on the economy and level up across the country.

Tax hikes were, in the end, limited to a tapered rise in corporation tax and a freezing of personal allowances, resulting in an inflation matching rise in taxes. But there are rewards for businesses investing in the future.

Meanwhile, there is some controversy over public sector pay freezes, but ultimately this comes down to the public sector review body, charged with determining fair pay for the public sector.

Meanwhile, the bulk of the measures to support the economy through the crisis were, broadly, more of the same.

But it is the investment in the future that is key.

Here in Wyre Forest, we have already seen this commitment, with a £20.5 million investment into Kidderminster’s town centre.

But 45 new towns will share a further £1 billion. Government departments are moving parts of their activities to the regions.

400 jobs will be created in Wolverhampton from the Housing department, whilst Environment is opening the Office for Environmental Protection in Worcester. Many other towns across the regions are similarly benefitting.

There is a host of other measures that will make a difference, spreading prosperity to the wider regions of the UK, levelling up the economy to match that of the South East.

A week after the budget, the news agenda has well and truly moved on.