Many feel the country isn't working for them—here's what Philip Hammond should announce in November to fix thatby Nicky Morgan / October 6, 2016 / Leave a comment
Click here to read more from our November 2016 issue
First of all, here’s what won’t be in this year’s Autumn Statement—Liam Fox, David Davis, Boris Johnson, Priti Patel, Andrea Leadsom, Michael Gove or any other Brexiteer announcing an end to VAT on household fuel bills; or an extra £350m per week for the Treasury to spend on the NHS. And we’re unlikely to see it in the Autumn Statements of 2017 or 2018 either. Why? Because those pledges aren’t deliverable and the Leave supporters knew it.
So, what might Chancellor Hammond be able to say exactly five months after the 23rd June vote which revealed a disunited kingdom, where many feel left behind by the pace of change in the 21st century and that the country isn’t working for them? Now we know we won’t have a surplus by 2020, there should be more room to pay for the things that people care about. But there will first of all be the updated post-Brexit Office for Budget Responsibility numbers to deal with. At the moment, every economic announcement and forecast is being analysed to see if the Leave campaigners’ optimism or the Remainers’ doom and gloom view was justified. As a former Treasury Minster I know how closely those OBR figures will be scrutinised. If the numbers are positive, then attention will shift to the Autumn Statement’s detailed announcements. If they hint at problems then we can expect the Opposition and commentators to keep the focus on the numbers.
Ensuring people keep more of their hard-earned money is an important way to make life easier for those the PM describes as “just about managing.” But “managing” is often about more than cash. It is also the worry that your children won’t get a sustainable job. That if you get sick or lose your job then there is no buffer to help with the bills. That your parents won’t be looked after in their old age. That your grown-up child with a learning disability isn’t getting the support they need. That you are having to deal with endless and pointless bureaucracy everywhere you go.
In previous years we’ve talked a…