Rishi Sunak struck a hopeful tone in today's Budget as he vowed to use the benefits of a better-than-expected recovery from Covid to ease pressures on hard-up Brits.
But the Chancellor's promises of cheaper pints, help for the low paid and more money for schools are not all they seem.
And its on top of 4% inflation, the highest taxes since 1950 and millions of people not covered by tweaks to Universal Credit.
Labour's Rachel Reeves blasted Mr Sunak for cutting taxes for banks and glossing over the fact that the Tories have presided over more than a decade of austerity.
She said: "In the long story of this Parliament, never has a Chancellor asked the British people to pay so much for so little."
Here's what Rishi Sunak's Budget really means for you.
Tax and benefits
Rishi Sunak admitted that taxes were at their highest level since the 1950s but said he wanted them to fall before the next election - as he promised to help working families with the cost of living.
Tax has risen by more in the last 12 months than in any year since 1993 after Black Wednesday.
The Chancellor had already announced rises on corporation tax, National Insurance and the new health and social care levy.
The Budget revealed that homeowners face a huge council tax hike adding more than £400 to the average annual bill, with town halls allowed to increase rates by up to 3%.
The Office for Budget Responsibility said it expected the total amount raised in council tax to be a third higher in 2026/27 than it was in 2019/20.
Mr Sunak also announced that Universal Credit will be made more generous for around 1.9m working families.
The Budget confirmed the ‘taper rate’ - the amount of benefits withdrawn for each pound earned through work - will be cut from 63p to 55p by December 1 at the latest.
And the work allowance - the amount some claimants can earn before the taper kicks in - will be raised by £500 a year.
But more than half of the 5.8m people on the benefit - including those who can’t work due to illness - won't see a penny more.
Even those who are helped have to be weighed up against the brutal £1,040-a-year UC cut brought in just weeks ago.
Schools and childcare
Rishi Sunak announced that funding per pupil in England's schools is to be restored to 2010 levels over the next three years, with extra cash for Covid catch-up and 'family hubs' to support children in their first three years.
The school funding announcement means an extra £4.7bn for schools in England by 2024-25 and a cash increase for every child of £1,500.
But it doesn't come close to covering the 9% Tory cuts to school funding since 2009 - the biggest in 40 years.
The cash injection has disappointed head teachers who have warned about a disadvantage gap which has widened during the pandemic.
Image:AFP via Getty Images)
The spending will have to cover any rise in teachers pay too as part of the public sector pay freeze being lifted.
The Chancellor's 'catch-up' funding to help millions of pupils who have missed out on learning during the pandemic brings the total to £5bn - but still falls way short of the £15bn the PM's own catch-up tsar, Sir Kevan Collins, called for.
Mr Sunak announced £300m for childcare programmes including a network of 'family hubs' - even though the Tories have shut more than 1000 Sure Start centres over the
A new 4% tax on property developers with profits over £25million will raise a £5bn fund to remove unsafe cladding on high-rise buildings, Rishi Sunak said.
The Chancellor also announced £11.5bn to build up to 180,000 affordable homes and an extra £1.8bn to bring 1,500 hectares of brownfield land into use.
But homeowners may still have to foot huge bills to remove Grenfell-style cladding from their homes, with experts predicting it will eventually cost between £15bn and £50bn.
Lucy Brown, of the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign, said the announcement was the fourth time the government had announced supposed new funds to help leaseholders, adding: "Boris Johnson’s government seems to be operating in a time warp."
The plan for new homes was also dismissed as "no step forward" in the housing crisis.
James Forrester, the managing director of estate agent Barrows and Forrester, said: “Time
and time again we’ve seen the government pledge to fix the housing market using recycled rhetoric and funding from previously announced initiatives.
“Today was no different and, reading between the lines, we can expect to see them continue to over-promise and under-deliver in their attempts to address the housing crisis."
Rishi Sunak cancelled a planned rise in fuel duty due to pump prices being at their highest level in eight years.
He also froze vehicle excise duty on HGVs and revealed air passenger duty on flights between airports in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would be lower from April 2023.
But the reality is road tax looks set to go up on cars and vans, despite Mr Sunak’s boast.
The Chancellor also made a big show of freezing vehicle excise duty on HGVs, but he did not mention cars or vans.
The small print of Budget documents contains an assumption that these duties will rise by the standard RPI inflation - currently a whopping 4.9%.
And the amount raked in will rise from £6.8bn a year now to £7.5bn a year by 2025/26. His cut in APD also comes as the UK is preparing to host the UN COP26 climate change summit, with Boris Johnson expected to convince world leaders to cut global emissions.
Booze and cigarettes
Rishi Sunak announced that duties on beer and wine have been slashed so Brits will be able to save a few pennies on their enjoy favourite beverage.
The teetotal Chancellor is drastically shaking up tax rules to make the system "simpler, fairer and healthier".
The new alcohol duty means the cost of a pint will be permanently cut by 3p.
A Kopparberg strawberry and lime cider will cost 13p less in a pub.
And a Plaza Centro prosecco which costs £7 per bottle in a shop will be 87p less.
Mr Sunak said wines were "no longer the preserve of wealthy elites" and their duties would be reduced to the same level as still wines, ending an "irrational" 28% duty premium.
Sparkling wine like Chapel Down English, which costs £18 for a bottle in a shop is now 64p less.
Brewers are among the big winners expected to benefit from changes, with many expecting lower duty in both retail stores and pubs as a result of the new "draught relief".
A pint of Guinness, Stella Artois or San Miguel in a pub will see its tax rate drop by 3p.
But it's bad news for port lovers as a bottle of Taylor's port which costs £15 for a bottle in a shop will cost you £1.09 more.
Sherry could also become more expensive, with documents showing that Croft sherry would see a 51p rise in duty.
And red wine lovers will also lose out as they are above 11.5% alcohol and therefore face duty rises.
A packet of 20 cigarettes will go up to £13.60.
Rishi Sunak said his Budget will give people the support they need to level up - and promised to allocate £1.7bn to 105 local authorities across the country.
The investment is expected to be used to improve the infrastructure of 'everyday life' such as local transport links and high streets.
At first glance it looks like Tory councils could benefit most from the funding.
Official documents show Derbyshire and the Isles of Scilly - both Tory authorities - received more than £48,000 worth of investment in what is the first round of the Treasury's levelling up
The average amount given to councils was £20k. But the Chancellor was keen to show that Labour MPs would benefit too - tweeting that shadow chief secretary Bridget Phillipson should welcome the fund in the Commons next week.Read More Read More