Hammond gently loosens the purse strings

By Michael Burton | 29 October 2018

With the £20.5bn extra funding for the NHS announced four months ago, next year’s Spending Review earmarked to contain detail of Whitehall departmental spending and the shadow of Brexit, chancellor Philip Hammond was always, as he admitted in his Budget speech, going to find it difficult to pull rabbits out a hat.

Nonetheless he boldly announced that austerity was ‘coming to an end’ and backed it with a flurry of spending pledges including, unusually, to local government. There was funding for social care, roads and potholes, high streets, schools, mental health services, digital infrastructure and technology and Universal Credit. His speech even did a passable take-off of a Carry On script when he pledged 100% rate relief for public toilets, joking this was one Budget initiative that had not leaked.

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