This briefing considers the main points of the 2017 Spring Budget, announced by the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, as the last of its kind with a future focus on the Autumn Statement. The authors note that it provided:
- £2bn for Social Care;
- £500m funding for vocational and technical education and introduction of a new technical qualification, the T-level;
- £270m for an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund;
- £320m for new free schools, including grammars;
- £325m investment into the NHS;
- an increase in National Insurance contributions for the self-employed, and
- £435m to support businesses affected by changing business rates, with a rise in personal allowance of £500 to £11,500 for 2017-18.
However, they observe areas where little or no investment was planned, despite the serious financial challenges facing social care and education, and the harmful consequences of benefit freezes and cuts in public spending. They conclude that the Budget largely ignored issues of serious concern and generally benefited the wealthy at the expense of the `just about managing' who went unmentioned despite earlier promises.