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Chancellor Unveils Austerity-Busting Budget, PM Slaps Down Claim It Will Be Scrapped by ‘No Deal’ Brexit

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Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Images
JACK MONTGOMERY

Threats by Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip ‘Remainer Phil’ Hammond to scrap Monday’s austerity-busting budget in the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit have been slapped down by the Prime Minister, who insists all spending commitments will be funded whatever happens.

While the Chancellor of the Exchequer is typically viewed as the master of Her Majesty’s Treasury, he is technically junior to the First Lord of the Treasury — a post traditionally held by the Prime Minister, with Theresa May being no exception.

Mrs May has often appeared willing to make any concession to the European Union in pursuit of a formal exit agreement, but she has lately been claiming her government is prepared for a relationship with the bloc based on the standard World Trade Organization rules, which would prevail under a ‘No Deal’ scenario — and Mr Hammond’s public claim that plans to end austerity by increasing public spending and cutting income taxes in the new budget could be jeopardised by ‘No Deal’ have therefore earned a rare rebuke from Number 10, with a spokesman for the Prime Minister insisting “all commitments” announced on October 29th will be “funded whether there is a deal or not”.

With tax revenue up and the post-referendum economy performing much better than gloomy forecasters predicted, Hammond’s budget ushers in what has been described as a “cautious” end to austerity, increasing public spending and bringing forward tax changes raising the personal allowance and lifting more people out of the higher rate of income tax.

The austerity-busting measures the Chancellor announced including a range of new mental health services, including a dedicated hotline and crisis service.

This story is developing…

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