Budget 2017: the CPS verdict


The Budget was dominated by the OBR’s slashing of productivity forecasts, which wiped 3 percentage points off predicted economic growth over the next five years. As a result, Britain will borrow more and is further away from achieving a budget surplus. Given these constraints, the Chancellor could have done a lot worse. In particular, the changes to Universal Credit were necessary, and the help on business rates and freezing of the VAT threshold will help firms of all sizes. Measures on housing were deeply disappointing, however. No concrete steps on planning were announced, and abolishing stamp duty for first-time buyers could actually make things worse. Hammond should be commended for not going on a spending splurge – but this Budget will do little to solve the UK’s productivity woes.

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