Mr Ham­mond toils on a tale of two Bud­gets

Daily Express - - INSIDE POLITICS -

opin­ion on some VAT changes that could be pretty dif­fi­cult for small firms,” an­other Tory MP told me. A Bud­get that raises the over­all tax bur­den while hand­ing out some re­duc­tions for lower earn­ers should be ex­pected.

Any shadow Bud­get for a “nodeal” sce­nario will be a very dif­fer­ent prospect. Trea­sury of­fi­cials have been mod­el­ling plans for an econ­omy turbo-charged by a se­ries of dras­tic tax cuts, in­clud­ing re­duc­tions in both in­come and cor­po­ra­tion tax, de­signed to trans­form the UK into a low-tax haven. It is a vi­sion that strikes ter­ror into the eu­ro­zone.

SOME Tories won­der why the Trea­sury will only con­tem­plate such an at­trac­tive tax-cut­ting model when plan­ning for a break­down in the Brexit talks. If rock-bot­tom taxes could kick-start the econ­omy in a no-deal sce­nario, why not try the same ap­proach even if Mrs May suc­ceeds in agree­ing a deal?

Even with­out the ex­tra £40bil­lion for the Trea­sury from the can­celled EU divorce fee in the event of a no-deal de­par­ture, a big re­duc­tion in the tax bur­den could de­liver the rocket boost the econ­omy des­per­ately needs as the coun­try be­gins to make its own way in the world free of the shack­les of the EU.

No one at West­min­ster ex­pects the cau­tious Mr Ham­mond to make that case in his Bud­get. But a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of Tory MPs sus­pect that by stick­ing to the safe ap­proach in his big speech rather than opt­ing for the se­cret rad­i­cal plan, the Govern­ment could be miss­ing the op­por­tu­nity to get Brexit Bri­tain booming.

PLANS: Philip Ham­mond is pre­par­ing for dif­fer­ent out­comes

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