The Hammond era budgets seem to be following the pattern of being extremely boring. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: without Osborne-style flashy give-aways, the Tories will struggle to retain their image that they are good for the economy, because the hard data strongly suggests otherwise.
The neither-good-nor-bad news is that the personal allowance rises at the same rate as inflation, stamp duty cuts will probably have no effect because the housing market is currently broken and will simply absorb that credit due to a lack of competition, and we have an 18-30 year old rail card which is fairly useless as it can’t be used at peak times. The good news is that we’re expecting to accelerate house building to 300,000 per year by some point in the future, but we’ve been literally creating money out of thin air to subsidise housing for decades (yes, literally creating money; money lent in mortgages is brought into existence by adding numbers into a database) – if we’re not building them already, it’s not because it needs more money thrown at it, so I’m sceptical this will actually happen and it wouldn’t be the first time in recent memory that a Tory house building project didn’t amount to anything.
The bad news is that growth has been cut significantly and is expected to remain low until at least 2021. If this pans out, it’ll be the longest period of such low growth since WW2. The budget deficit is now estimated to run until 2031, meaning that what was supposed to take 5 years due to the magic of austerity is actually going to take 21 years due to the magical beans not working as advertised. Worse, pay is not expected to return to 2008 levels until 2025; which means almost two lost decades for anyone who was graduating university in, say, 2008… like me.
So overall… somehow I don’t think the Conservatives are going to see much progress on their youth vote problem any time soon.