PHILIP Hammond will today unveil a pro-Brexit Budget to “embrace change” in a bid to end his bitter feud with Leavers.
With his Cabinet job on the line, the Chancellor will declare his new tax and spending plans show “resolve to look forwards, and to seize the opportunities for Britain”.
The Treasury supremo’s annual economic blueprint for the nation will be a mixture of investment in long-term skills, and targeted help for struggling families today.
But in a blow for reformers, Mr Hammond has been forced to abandon a series of bold plans on house building, pension changes and tax reforms.
Aides have told MPs to expect a workmanlike, “safety first” Budget instead of any “big rabbits out of the hat”.
The radical ambitions were abandoned after enemy Tory backbenchers – who have dubbed him Eeyore - threatened to block them by wiping out the Government’s wafer thin majority of 13.
In some of the Budget’s announcements today:
- Schools and sixth form colleges will get an extra a £177m package to promote Maths - including a £600 bonus in funding for every new student who takes the subject at A Level,
- There will be £42m to boost teachers’ training in schools that have fallen behind, and £84m to triple the number of computer science teachers,
- Britain’s worst wounded troops will get £4.5m of sinning bankers’ cash as the Chancellor spends the last of the Libor fines,
- Mr Hammond will also have to unveil a major hit to state coffers today after the Office for Budget Responsibility slashed growth forecasts because of significantly weaker productivity.
The grim new figures are expected to wipe out two thirds of the £26bn Brexit war chest that Mr Hammond has stashed away for any tougher times ahead.
The Chancellor was given some early bad news yesterday when it emerged his borrowing unexpectedly jumped by £500m last month because of inflation is going up, driving up the deficit.
Showing a positive face despite the bad numbers, Mr Hammond will declare today: “For the first time in decades, Britain is genuinely at the forefront of a technological revolution.
“So we must invest to secure a bright future for Britain, and at this Budget that is what we choose to do.”
He also delighted Brexiteers last night when it emerged he will also today define his vision for Global Britain as “an outward looking, free-trading nation, a force for good in the world, a country fit for the future”.
Prominent critic Jacob Rees-Mogg dubbed it “excellent to see the Chancellor’s true colours”.
After previously coining the comparison of Mr Hammond to the grumpy donkey in Winnie the Pooh, the senior Tory MP added: “Treasury gloom is dispelled and Eeyore has become Bucephalus”.
Bucephalus was an angry horse in Greek mythology was tamed after learning to be no longer scared of its shadow.
A poll by Kantar Public UK last night showed the slowing economy is leaving Brits struggling even harder.
Almost four in ten households say they are finding it harder to meet their household budget than they were 12 months ago, with women (43%) and the under 25s (40%) the worst affected.
The public have become increasingly concerned about the economy’s prospects overall. More than a third (35%) believe that in 12 months’ time it will be doing worse than it is now, up from 28% in February.
By Matt Dathan, Political Correspondent
DIESEL has hit its highest price in almost three years.
The average cost is now £1.23 per litre.
A litre of unleaded petrol is £1.20, which is an eight-month high.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams blamed a global spike in diesel prices and the plummeting value of Sterling against the dollar.
Only 15% believe the economy will be better in 12 months’ time.
Yesterday Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, called for mental health funding for youngsters to be ringfenced in the Budget.
She told the Commons Health Committee early intervention was vital to help kids before they reached adulthood.