Chancellor raises his sights above muck and bullets of Brexit

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, today presented his Spring Statement to Parliament. Simon Rawlinson, Head of Strategic Research at Arcadis, shares his thoughts.

Arcadis Budget Response

“Delivering a memorable Spring Statement in the midst of the farce of Brexit was Chancellor Philip Hammond’s unenviable task for the day.  Once he had navigated through the minefield of the OBR forecasts, he turned his focus towards three time horizons – preventing no deal; capitalising on a Brexit bounce; and setting a vision for a sustainable future.  The chancellor set out his no-deal Brexit vision with none of the circumspection used by Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, last year.  If any MPs are wavering in their voting intentions, he clearly set out the consequences of a disruptive Brexit – higher inflation, higher interest rates, economic disruption and a smaller, poorer economy.  Who will follow the Brexiteers into the lobbies after that?  Raising his sights above the muck and bullets of the Brexit Debate, the Chancellor then highlighted the urgent work needed – the Comprehensive Spending Review, an enquiry on infrastructure funding – to make sure that the UK can take advantage of the opportunities he expects to arise from a post-Brexit bounce, name checking both the Northern Powerhouse and Ox-Cambs Growth Corridor in the process.   Again, he chose to highlight the work that Government should be doing rather than arguing amongst itself about the backstop.  

“What could have been a rather humdrum statement took a rather surprising turn with the Chancellor fixing his eyes on the future.  As you would expect, skills, digital and affordable housing were on his list, but also some very specific commitments around sustainability, targeted very specifically at creating sustainable places and opportunities for our younger generations.  It will be quite easy to tear holes out of individual commitments and to highlight that, collectively, they won’t even start to solve the problem of climate change.  However, on a day like today, amidst the chaos of Brexit, to have the Chancellor setting out the business case for bees and other pollinators suggests that at least someone in government  is thinking hard about improving quality of life.”

Simon Rawlinson

Head Of Strategic Research and Insight +44 (0)20 7812 2319 Ask me a question