The Budget is all about positivity.
Roared on by his Conservative colleagues, Philip Hammond proudly introduced positive reforms, sensible uses of funding and suggested ways of tackling Britain’s problems.
But while the chancellor has won praise for introducing the millennial railcard and abolishing stamp duty for first-time buyers, not everything in the Budget is so positive.
Some unpopular announcements and policies have been buried underneath all the gloss and glamour of his speech.
Economic growth scaled back
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The Budget included some worrying signs about the state of Britain’s economy.
Forecasted growth for productivity, business investment and GDP growth has been scaled back from 2% to 1.5%.
This comes after the Office for Budget Responsibility revised their estimations and predicted the economy will grow much slower than previously believed.
It is set to get worse before it improves, too – with growth projected to be 1.4% in 2018, 1.3% in 2019 and 1.3% in 2020, before recovering to 1.5% in 2021 and 1.6% in 2022.
Mr Hammond did not reveal why the economy is now predicted to stutter over the next three years.
Key areas ignored
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Labour’s main criticism of the Budget has centred on issues that have not received the funding many believe they deserve.
These include a failure to include extra funding for social care or public sector pay, despite pressure from Labour.
Fire safety measures for homes, an issue brought to public attention by the Grenfell Tower disaster, was also notable by its absence from the Budget.
Not enough cash for the NHS
Offering a large amount of emergency cash to the NHS was an easy win for Mr Hammond.
He has pledged £2.8 billion for NHS England, with £350 million immediately for the coming winter.
However, this is substantially less than the £4 billion that Simon Stevens, head of the NHS, said was necessary.
And Bruce Keogh, the NHS’ medical director, said longer waits are likely or unavoidable, suggesting that the Budget did not go far enough.
Personal view…Budget plugs some, but def not all, of NHS funding gap. Will force a debate about what the public can and can’t expect from the NHS. Worrying that longer waits seem likely/unavoidable.#NHS
— Bruce Keogh (@DrBruceKeogh) November 22, 2017
Diesel car tax
With anti-pollution measures becoming more and more common, it’s not hard to see why the chancellor has added an additional tax for diesel cars that don’t meet the latest standards.
However, the decision is set to be unpopular among thousands of drivers after 30,000 supporters voiced their opposition to the proposal, campaign group FairFuel UK said.
Mr Hammond stressed that the policy would not apply to white van men and women, but having ignored motorists’ pleas, it is not set to be a popular decision.
Failure to rescue the housing market
The chancellor’s proposal to abolish stamp duty to help first-time buyers get on the housing ladder has been welcomed.
Some experts, such as Jon Ostler, UK CEO of personal finance site Finder.com, believes the Government is not going far enough/
He said: ‘In order to truly help first-time buyers in the short term, the government would need to offer a far greater incentive.
‘As it stands, first-time buyers in the UK are going to have to rely on the delivery of the Government’s house building investment and initiatives to deliver affordable housing, but this could take some time.’
Meanwhile, Campbell Robb, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said there was ‘little support for people who need it most’.
He said: ‘The Government could have demonstrated it was on the side of low income families by lifting the freeze and providing a clear plan to deliver 80,000 genuinely affordable homes a year in England, instead of more funding for people who can already afford to buy.’