Cab­i­net un­rest as top Tory warns of Ham­mond’s ‘car-crash’ Bud­get

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Ja­son Groves Po­lit­i­cal Edi­tor

NEXT week’s Bud­get risks be­com­ing a ‘car crash’, a se­nior Tory warned last night – amid grow­ing Cab­i­net frus­tra­tion with Chan­cel­lor Philip Ham­mond.

The Bud­get has been billed as a ‘make or break’ mo­ment, which could ei­ther mark the start of a Gov­ern­ment fight­back or deepen the cri­sis sur­round­ing Theresa May’s ad­min­is­tra­tion.

But se­nior min­is­ters fear the Chan­cel­lor has failed to grasp the crit­i­cal na­ture of the event and is re­fus­ing to re­lease cash for ini­tia­tives de­signed to get the Gov­ern­ment on the front foot. Re­la­tions be­tween Mrs May and her Chan­cel­lor are also said to be fraught, with in­sid­ers claim­ing he is re­fus­ing her re­quest to bankroll a house­build­ing revo­lu­tion.

And there is alarm that the Trea­sury has briefed the me­dia that the Bud­get is go­ing to be both ‘big and bold’ and ‘steady as she goes’ – sug­gest­ing con­fu­sion.

A Cab­i­net source said: ‘It’s look­ing more and more like the Bud­get is go­ing to be a car crash – a real dis­as­ter. There is so much rid­ing on it but the Chan­cel­lor seems obliv­i­ous. He has no idea about pol­i­tics – peo­ple try to ex­plain how the choices he makes have a po­lit­i­cal im­pact but he doesn’t lis­ten.

‘This is not about Brexit – un­hap­pi­ness with Philip Ham­mond is one thing that unites the Cab­i­net, whether they are Brex­i­teers or Re­main­ers.’

Gov­ern­ment sources say Mr Ham­mond is ‘dig­ging his heels in’ over the need to main­tain the aus­ter­ity pro­gramme that has been in place since 010. But he is un­der pres­sure from min­is­ters to re­lease bil­lions for a string of ini­tia­tives, in­clud­ing Brexit prepa­ra­tions and de­fence spend­ing.

Next Wed­nes­day’s Bud­get is the first since the Gov­ern­ment moved to a pol­icy of one a year. The spring Bud­get this year was the last and there will no longer be an Au­tumn State­ment.

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