Speaking to Andrew Neil on the BBC Politics Live show after the budget, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss said that today's budget stands with or without a Brexit Deal.


Before the budget there was confusion as to whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer would need a whole new budget in the spring should Theresa May's Chequers based Brexit In Name Only deal flounder and fall.

And at the start of his speech today the Chancellor did say that, in what he called the unlikely event of a no-deal, then next spring could see a full fiscal event.

But Liz Truss said afterwards that this related to changes in how the budget would be delivered, not what was actually being delivered. But I will say she looked a tad 'uncomfortable' in the chair.

Anyway, the Chancellor said his effort today was aimed to help hard working families and said that previous decisions since the Tories came to power had not been ideologically driven but due to the necessity of the mess Labour left behind.

This he said was a defining moment, a pivotal moment as we would be leaving the EU where the stakes could not be higher and a new chapter where austerity was finally coming to an end – which is slightly different from the PM's statement that austerity had ended.

He then trotted out the OBR statement of resilient growth, employment and wage rises to come in the next few years.

One big rabbit he pulled out of his hat was a £20 billion boost for the NHS over the next five years.

And in what is being seen as a big win for the defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, he has also given Defence an extra billion pounds for modernisation of cyber and anti-submarine warfare as well as for the Continuous At Sea Deterrence Dreadnought programme, for the replacement of the Trident missile carrying Vanguard class submarines.

There was also £10 million for air ambulances, £400 million for schools to be able to make small purchases, £420 million for potholes and a £10 million donation for the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust to make up for the fact that VAT cannot be waived for it. As well as increasing the minimum or living wage.

There will also be a UK only tax on the huge tech giants by April 2020 should the international community not be able to get together to impose one.

Fuel duty, beer duty and spirits duty have all been frozen, except for white cider, which gets its own rate.

The big announcement he left to last saying that the manifesto commitment to raise the lower and upper income tax thresholds at £12,500 and £50,000 respectively would be brought forward from April 2020 to next year.

Now, one point to note is that the UK deficit as a percentage of GDP is set to decrease over the next few years.

But, the actual deficit amount is not and pundits are putting it at about £20 billion a year.

So, far from eradicating the deficit, it looks like borrowing more than we earn will still continue but it will decrease only as a percentage of the size of the economy.

This means the national debt of circa £1.8 trillion will continue to rise and our debt interest repayments will also continue to rise in step with it.

This comes as absolutely no surprise to me at all.

I said as much in yesterday morning's video and I also wrote an article on this back in March, a link is in the descriptions box below. In that article I said:

"The UK national net debt just keeps growing – and we're unlikely to ever see the debt pile decrease in any meaningful way."

And I put the case that with a spend heavy Labour Party breathing down their necks, the Tories will always keep the national debt and deficit at a level that will not give Labour the headroom for a massive spending spree should they win an election.

So, in these politically volatile times you can see why the Tories may have eased the purse strings a little.

I see it more as a move to fend off Labour, than an end to austerity. And I must say the opposition front bench did not look happy at all.

So, please let us all know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Thank you for watching.


UK National Debt Just Keeps Rising – and We're Stuck With it!

Comment Here!