Douglas Carswell

08 MAR 2017

The end of Osbrown?

When Philip Hammond delivers his first budget today, we'll find out what kind of Chancellor he is. Let's hope he proves to be more fiscally responsible than his predecessor.

Reports suggest the budget will contain few new spending announcements. Instead, the Chancellor is expected to announce a £60 billion Brexit "war chest".

His ability to do so is a reflection on the strength of the economy since the referendum. Growth was higher in the second half of 2016 than the first. Government borrowing this financial year is on course to be lower than the OBR forecast.

The Chancellor is right not to take the fall in borrowing as an invitation to spend. This government's failure to keep its promise to return government finances to balance has already increased the national debt by 50% since 2010. We need a return to fiscal sanity.

UKIP would therefore support saving more – by scrapping the £56 billion High Speed 2, reducing overseas aid by up to £10 billion a year, and reforming the Barnett formula.

At the same time, we propose cutting VAT on domestic fuel bills, hot food, and sanitary products. Regressive taxes like VAT hurt the poorest most. That burden needs to be lifted.

I'd also like to see a change in outlook from Philip Hammond. After two decades of failed Osbrown economics, we need a Chancellor who recognises that loose monetary policy will never generate sustainable growth.

Today we may find out if the Osbrown era is finally over.

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