Budget 2018 in two minutes: the end of austerity (or not), Brexit prep and toilet jokes
1. The end of austerity
When the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, set out his spending plans on Monday, that was his claim… almost.
“The era of austerity is finally coming to an end,” he said, as he gave his third Budget statement to the House of Commons.
Many – including the Guardian’s political correspondent Peter Walker – were quick to point out that he hadn’t said the era of austerity was “over”, but his intentions were clear.
He announced £400 million for “little extras” for schools and £1.7bn for universal credit work allowances.
The excitingly-named Office for Budget Responsibility was also quick to point out that public finances are no stronger than before.
2. Prepping for Brexit
Have you heard of “Brexit prepping?”. Worries of a no-deal Brexit and September’s appointment of a minister to oversee the protection of food supplies (David Rutley, in case you were wondering) have led to reports of “Brexit preppers” stockpiling food and medicines.
There’s a “prepping for Brexit” thread on MoneySavingExpert, and guides on “the supplies you need” elsewhere on the internet.
Some “Brexit prep” was always going to be required with this Budget, and as well as £500million for Brexit prep in government departments (on top of the billions already announced), that included the prospect of a whole new Budget, or rather upgrading the Spring Statement to a “full fiscal event” if needed.
Oh, and a “commemorative 50p Brexit coin”.
3. Toilet humour and leaks
Because there are always awkward attempts to make things a little light-hearted, funny even…
“Fasten your seatbelts people – the laughathon starts here. #Budget2018,” James Coney, the Sunday Times’ money editor tweeted.
The Chancellor announced public lavatory business rate relief “so local councils can relieve themselves”, before adding: “This is the only announcement that hasn’t leaked”.
Aspects of the Budget can be predictable, especially when they’ve either been leaked or previously announced. So much so that live tweets included this sort of thing from Martin Lewis (MartinSLewis): “We’re about to get the digital tax announcement”. The digital tax announcement was a £400m tax on tech giants to make them “pay their fair share”.
4. The campaign wins
“Quick, someone sound the ‘campaign win’ claxon at Daily Mail Towers #saveourhighstreet,” James Coney tweeted. He was referring to business rate relief for small shops. Revisiting this tax is something demanded by business bodies frequently as a means to rejuvenate the ailing high street.
Any wins for millennials? It’s great mental health services are getting a £2bn funding boost – something that was in our millennial Budget wishlist. We know we can’t always get everything we want, but if housing worries are going to continue to be an issue for young people, support will be even more important.
We’ve taken a more detailed look at what’s in the Budget for millennials here: Was it a good Budget for millennials? Some positives, but it doesn’t go near far enough