Tory MPs back Philip Hammond after 'make or break' Budget
Prominent Conservative MPs have backed Philip Hammond on his “make or break” Budget in a major relief for the Chancellor.
Tory figures had warned Mr Hammond that he would likely be dumped from his job if his set-piece fiscal event had been a flop.
But his MPs rallied round yesterday after he announced a cut in stamp duty for the majority of first time buyers and a £3bn war chest to cope with Brexit.
Treasury Committee chair Nicky Morgan said the Chancellor had taken “a common-sense approach” in the face of plummeting growth forecasts and sluggish productivity.
She added that he had offered a “welcome emphasis on issues beyond Brexit”.
Pro-Brexit backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg said the standby cash for quitting the EU was “sensible”.
“That money is money that would need to be spent anyway, deal or no deal, so to bring it forward is prudent and welcome,” he added.
Fellow Brexit enthusiast John Redwood praised the Budget as being full of “good proposals” while Nadine Dorries said the stamp duty plan was an “exciting announcement”.
Meanwhile, Tory MPs told the BBC it had been a “very solid” Budget that was “well received” containing “nothing too dangerous”.
The Guardian reported yesterday morning that a close Cabinet ally of the Chancellor had said: "This is make or break for him."
But concerns were raised last night that the flagship plan to cut stamp duty could unravel after official Treasury analysts said it would push up house prices.
Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey said the OBR had “demolished” the policy with its verdict that the sellers of homes would benefit more than the first time buyers.
Meanwhile, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell fumed: "This is a ‘nothing has changed’ Budget from an out-of-touch Government with no idea of the reality of people’s lives and no plan to improve them.”
He added: “If the Government cannot address the scale of the challenges facing our economy they should stand aside for a Labour government that will."
Elsewhere in the Budget Mr Hammond said delays for new claimants on the Universal Credit system will be reduced and he handed the NHS an emergency £2.8bn bailout.