Last week Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the 2017 Budget to the House of Commons in what was called “the end of austerity” by the naive and redundant by me.
Hammond’s money makes very little difference to many people. His chucking of the stamp duty for homes £300,000 or under will help some people, but not loads. And the building of new homes is good, but it’s really delayed gratification.
Missing from the Budget was some real news and some real change. To be fair, I didn’t expect Hammond to put in money for mental health or lift the public sector pay cap. Although it would have been quite logical for the former to happen, considering his boss Theresa May promised to end the “burning injustices” in this country when she came to power, the disparity between treatment for physical illnesses and mental illnesses being one of them.
As for ending the public sector pay cap which has seen teachers, doctors and nurses to name but a few actually lose money for a number of years because they aren’t allowed to be given a pay rise, I wasn’t expecting Hammond to lift that. After all, he did say that those in such noble professions are “overpaid”. It seems to me that the Chancellor is overpaid as this Budget could have been put together by any Tom, Dick or Harry – or even me, Lauren, with a C in GCSE Maths.
Overall, Hammond’s Budget was lacklustre, as expected. But it was also cruel and disappointing. We should be funding mental health and our public services much more than Hammond and Co. are doing. It’s about time we ended austerity for real and swallowed our pride to borrow some money to do it.