Jim Armitage: Hawk Philip Hammond will ensure austerity won't be knocked off its perchComments Off on Jim Armitage: Hawk Philip Hammond will ensure austerity won't be knocked off its perch
Philip Hammond’s appointment as chancellor puts a swift kibosh on hopes of a major loosening of the fiscal purse strings.
Theresa May might have talked like austerity was over last week, but putting a hawk like him in Number 11 suggests otherwise.
True, his first act earlier was to scrap his hapless predecessor’s scaremongering emergency Brexit “punishment” Budget.
But much of what he talked about in the TV studios made him sound like George II. Infrastructure to be a focus, check (well, they all say that), devotion to the Hinkley Point white elephant, check, commitment to the City (whatever that means), check. In other words, plus ça change.
Given his hawkish instincts, he may even U-turn on George’s 15% corporation tax pledge. Smaller, more voter-friendly giveaways on VAT or fuel duty might appeal to him more.
But don’t expect a big bazooka of investment spending to kick-start the economy.
From this former goth, it’ll be Siouxsie and the Banshees’ Dear Prudence cover for a few years yet. A pity, given that we can borrow to invest now at the lowest interest rates in history.