Balancing the books on the backs of the poor and unemployed would be, as Gordon Brown writes today, an unforgivable move by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The alarm raised by the former Labour Prime Minister over soaring unemployment, including widespread joblessness among the young, is a warning that Boris Johnson’s Government is not doing enough.

This is underlined by the need to kickstart Kickstart and restart Restart, two promised employment schemes failing to deliver.

Wednesday’s Budget, delivered by a Chancellor presiding over an economic catastrophe worse than in any other G7 nation, is likely to be another missed opportunity to create an economy that works for everyone.

Former PM Gordon Brown

Yes, some measures will be welcome – such as extending furloughing and grants for businesses that were profitable before lockdown.

But Sunak gives no sign that he will move us on from failed business as usual.

No vax-cuse

Persuasion and organisation are better than coercion or condemnation – but the sooner jabs are given to the 200,000-plus frontline NHS and care home workers still to be vaccinated, the better for us all.

Those paid to protect the sick and frail have no excuse for refusing a jab unless exempted by pregnancy or specific health reasons.

They have a professional responsibility to care for themselves and others, as England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty says.

Many may be waiting for an appointment. Some might be concerned, requiring reassurance. But any Covid cranks are in the wrong jobs and will find no public sympathy.

Streets ahead

For three decades Johnny Briggs played Mike Baldwin, the knicker factory boss who got Coronation Street fans in a twist.

One even hit him with a brolly in Sainsbury’s because Mike had sacked Hilda Ogden.

It proved his – and the soap’s – ability to show that fact really is stranger than fiction.