Hammond’s make or break Budget
Philip Hammond will promise investment to make Britain "fit for the future" in his Budget today, insisting the UK will be an "outward looking, free-trading nation" once it leaves the EU in 2019. There have been few pre-Budget announcements of note, with plans for 300,000 new houses deemed a rehash of past policy and Mr Hammond’s declaration in an interview that there are no unemployed people an unwelcome misstep for the government. The Telegraph reports that Theresa May had to step in on Tuesday amid concerns the Chancellor’s announcement would be a flop. One Cabinet source told the paper it had been “the worst Budget build-up in history” and that Mr Hammond would need to give a “spectacular” Budget statement to save his job. Aside from housebuilding reforms, the chancellor is expected to announce investments in teacher training and the promotion of maths skills; cut waiting times for universal credit recipients, increase investment for AI, driverless cars and R&D, and promise a public sector pay rise.