Philip Hammond certainly has a way with words. Listening to the Budget you could be forgiven for thinking that the economy was performing beyond all expectations. Unfortunately, no amount of flowery language can disguise the fact that the numbers aren’t looking good.
The Office for Budget Responsibility, which was established to provide an independent account of UK economic forecasts and public spending, has revised down their numbers on a range of economic measures. Economic growth has been revised down, GDP figures have been revised down for next three years, and productivity and investment have been revised down. That hardly suggests confidence in our economy, neither the fact that the Chancellor has had to put aside an extra £3bn for Brexit preparations…£3bn!
Meanwhile, while Hammond boasted of having provided himself public spending headroom, but the forecast figures are in fact £11bn less than was previously forecast.
The strength of the economy matters, without growth we cannot provide people with the decent jobs or generate the taxation we need to pay for the standard of public services and social security people deserve. Whatever the Chancellor’s claims, without tackling the fundamental problems in our economy, neither this nor any other Budget can deliver for the British people.