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Budget Response: Hammond is Osborne 2.0

The Budget has been delivered and the talking heads are squabbling over what it means. 

In broad terms, however, it confirms Hammond to be one thing: Osborne 2.0.

The Budget has become more than a check on the nation's finances: political giveaways and grandstands have become the norm. 

This Budget has been no different. Mimicking a George Osborne Budget, Hammond's cut in Stamp Duty for homes up to £300,000 will grab the headlines. Beneath that, very little has changed. 

Yes, growth is down compared to previous expectations. It is not as bad though as the Remoaners were predicting and, indeed, the UK economy is still growing. As a result, Hammond has responded by only small shifts in economic policies that won't make any radical or meaningful change to the direction of the economy. 

The Budget was full of politics, however. Of course, there was the announcement on Stamp Duty but there were also more promises on house building and investment in driverless cars. Why we need the government to be part of the driverless car industry is beyond us.

There was, however, no real supply-side reforms. Basically, politics before economics. 

This went for the NHS as well: more money pledged but no sense of any directional change in solving chronic issues with the NHS finances. 

More money to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland was also promised but no real change in the basics of economic thinking. 

In a welcome move though, there was £3bn pledged for Brexit preparations. 

It will be seen in the coming days where this money will go and whether it will be enough. We will hopefully also know soon what amount the UK is offering to pay the EU. If, as expected, it's in the region of £40bn then questions will be rightly asked: why not spend the money in the UK rather than continuing this expensive EU game. 

But, in still playing politics with economics, Hammond proved in this Budget as before that spreadsheet Phil is really Osborne 2.0.

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