A few hiccups aside, Philip Hammond’s Budget has not unravelled at the pace Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn might have hoped for. Jeremy Corbyn’s immediate response, a tough job given the Chancellor only shares the budget document 15 minutes before he takes to the despatch box, was initially deemed a success by pundits as he passionately highlighted Hammond’s omission of any funding for social care or public sector pay – despite pressure not only from Labour, but from senior Tories too.
As analysists delved into Hammond’s ‘long economicky words’ section of the Budget, it became clear there was a smorgasbord of useful content for any Shadow Chancellor to roll up their sleeves and get to grips with – Britain’s economic outlook looks at best to be fairly stagnant with economic growth, productivity growth and business investment all revised down.
But on Thursday morning, John McDonnell’s muddled media interviews failed to deliver. He claimed questions about Labour’s spending plans were “trite” and fell apart when he was forced to admit he did not know how much the UK was paying to service current debt, during an interview with the BBC’s Daily Politics. “That’s why we have iPads and that’s why we have advisers,” he said defending himself. Whilst Labour policies are popular amongst voters, there is still a way to go before winning the trust of voters on the economy and it seems McDonnell’s performance has left the Shadow Cabinet amongst the surprising losers of this Budget.