Philip Hammond (a.k.a ‘Spreadsheet Phil’) has stood proudly with his red briefcase to deliver his annual budget across the dispatch box. Hammond had been facing political pressure from number 10 prior to his speech after the Prime Minister proudly announced ‘the end of austerity’ at the Conservative Party Conference.

What can we take from this budget? Austerity is coming to an end – but discipline remains. The chancellor’s measures, although more optimistic than expected, are not radical by any means. Hammond has made a point that the increased spending incorporated in the budget is affordable regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations.

The Conservative Party have been accused of creating a budget that only benefits the rich, but commentators seem to be overlooking a few key details that illustrate that this is truly a budget for everyone in society. Here are a few reasons why;

1) Taxes aren’t being cut for the super-rich

The Personal Allowance (the amount of income you don’t have to pay tax on) will rise to £12,500 allowing people to earn more before they are taxed. This puts more money in the pockets of hard-working people. As for raising the Higher Rate Threshold from £46,000 to £50,000, this doesn’t constitute a tax cut for the rich; these people are teachers, dentists, and train drivers. Hardly multi-millionaires! Taxing aspiration certainly doesn’t help people to better themselves.

2) The Minimum Wage Will Rise Nearly 5%

The government has always recognised that employment is the best way out of poverty. The chancellor’s announcement that the National Living Wage will rise to £8.21 should help to reinforce this message and help some of the lowest paid workers to live more comfortably.

Apart from these measures, the NHS is receiving the biggest investment in its history to make sure that everyone in Britain has access to the highest quality healthcare – hardly a policy just for the rich. Money is being pumped into British high streets; the wealthiest online companies will pay new taxes, fuel duty has been frozen again, and many first time buyers won’t have to pay stamp duty on shared ownership properties.

Just how anyone can say this budget offers nothing to those on the lowest incomes perplexes me. Yes, more could be done. But, we ought to remember the work this government has done – and is doing – in balancing our nation’s finances after the previous Labour government’s irresponsible borrowing and the global financial crash of 2008. Austerity hasn’t been easy but we can’t spend money we don’t have and the good news is – to borrow a phrase from Tony Blair – things can only get better.