The public finances have emerged from the pandemic in better shape than expected. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will push inflation to a 40-year high of almost 9 per cent, and living standards are set for a historic fall over the next 12 months. The Chancellor used his Spring Statement to deliver rebates and tax cuts that reduce that fall by a third to just over 2 per cent and a pair of personal tax cuts that undo one-sixth of the total tax rises he has previously announced. This leaves him with £30 billion of headroom against his fiscal targets.