The air was thick with anticipation in the Commons as Philip Hammond stood up to deliver his first Autumn Statement as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Government insiders were enthusiastically pre-briefing a ‘reset moment’ in Conservative messaging, while anxious Tory MPs were pondering – not too subtly – whether the new Chancellor could fill his predecessor’s rather big shoes. The stakes were high: the old order had successfully steered the Conservative Party to two General Election victories, while business – which has so far been kept at arm’s length – has been chomping at the bit to finally receive some clear policy direction post-Brexit.
They needn’t have worried. Within minutes, thin lips had spread into wry smiles. The Labour benches were stunned into silence by the sound of Tory tanks rolling relentlessly onto their lawn. Hammond clearly delighted in putting some long-awaited flesh on the bones of “a country that works for everyone” as he tactfully sidestepped the OBR’s gloomy forecasting to announce plans to scrap achieving the Budget surplus. Instead he announced a new fiscal charter that would freeze welfare cuts and support those who are just about managing (“JAMs”, apparently).
Edelman has analysed the Autumn Statement – the winners and losers, the stakeholder reaction, and the response in Parliament – in this briefing note. For more information, please do get in touch with Gurpreet Brar, Managing Director, at Gurpreet.Brar@edelman.com.