Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, broke a long-held political convention by announcing his budget in Winter 2017 rather than in the Spring. Yet, his budget sprung even more surprises. The removal of Stamp Duty for first-time buyers and the forecast of 600,000 new jobs by 2022 will raise eyebrows, with the consequences of Brexit still unknown.
But, it was the issue of Brexit which caught my eye. With all experts stating that a ‘no deal’ Brexit could be harmful for the British economy, this narrative plays into the Brussels executives’ hands; they can argue that Britain should sign a Brexit deal which isn’t on Britain’s terms, as a ‘no deal’ Brexit could hurt us even more.
An independent study authorised by London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has suggested that 500,000 jobs could be lost if there is a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Hammond has fought back, however, making a bold statement that £3 billion had been set aside for a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
By setting aside this money, Hammond has shown Brussels that Britain won’t be taken for a ride and are willing to leave the EU with no deal. This move has put the ball back in the EU’s court: will Brussels now be more willing to accept British terms or will they continue their policy of negotiating on what they want?
No-one knows what’s in store by the time we leave the EU by March 2019, and with Hammond’s adventurous ‘no deal’ budget policy, it’s certainly going make the Brexit deal even more interesting.