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Budget reaction: Walking a tightrope in a hurricane blindfolded

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Budget reaction: Walking a tightrope in a hurricane blindfolded

There were some welcome, if inadequate, measures in the chancellor's Budget speech today, but it revealed the strains faced by this government.

The sad reality is that more money was found for the poor handling of Brexit and Universal Credit than for the NHS.So much for £350 million a week.

I welcome the measures for housing (a stamp duty cut for first time buyers) although the amount and the strategy are probably woefully inadequate and likely to stoke prices further.

The schools investment is pathetically low and the incentive for students taking maths and science at A-level is both unfair and potentially open to real abuse.

(Schools will get £600 for every extra pupil who takes A-level or Core maths. £27 million to improve how maths is taught in 3,000 schools. £49 million for students resitting GCSE maths. £350,000 extra funding a year  to every specialist maths school that is set up. The number of qualified computer science teachers will rise from 4,000 to 12,000.).

I am not sure the numbers completely add up.

Why is borrowing lower than forecast and set to fall year on year, with the debt about the same if post-Brexit growth forecasts have been slashed and productivity recovery discounted?

I need to see the detailed numbers and crunch them properly.

Overall some welcome priorities but sadly only irrelevant tinkering and some hastily applied political sticking plasters, perhaps because the black clouds of Brexit loom large making even the most optimistic economic forecasts look perilous.

The reality is this under-threat chancellor is guessing and dissembling and could not do otherwise. 

He has done as well as anyone blindfolded and disorientated on a tightrope in a hurricane would do.

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