“This may not have been a game-changing Budget from the chancellor: but the fact is, given the state of the UK’s finances, Philip Hammond was in a fiscal straitjacket – and this straitjacket was only tightened by the downgraded growth forecasts provided to him by the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR).
“It was clear that Hammond was making a strong attempt to appeal to millennials in the way that his predecessor George Osborne aimed many policies at the older generation. He talked a lot about the future and the need to modernise the UK economy and invest in sectors, such as artificial intelligence, 5G and driverless vehicles.
“Housing was always expected to play a big role in this Budget: there was £44bn announced to support property development over the next few years in the form of loans and guarantees as well as direct funding, while the abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers will be welcomed by many.
“But as the OBR pointed out, perhaps the biggest challenge facing our economy is lack of productivity growth seen over the past decade. The UK has had a strong recovery in jobs but unfortunately not in productivity.”
Chief Economist, NatWest