Philip Hammond’s Budget was a kick in the teeth for Britain’s savers.
His 86-page document contained zero mentions of the word – prompting one expert to declare the chancellor had “hung savers out to dry”.
With the Bank of England critical of high street banks and building societies for failing to pass on the recent rate rise to 0.5% to savers, many in the industry were hoping Hammond would do something.
But Steven Cameron, director of pensions at Aegon, said: “For savers, this Budget will be remembered for its ‘sound of silence’, with more to be said about what wasn’t included than what was.”
And, Andrew Hagger, finance expert at MoneyComms, added: “Hammond has hung savers out to dry.
“If we don’t encourage the savings habit, more people will rely on plastic as the norm and fail to put aside sufficient for their pension.”
While the chancellor could provide no cheer for savers, he did manage to find £3bn more to cover the costs of Brexit for the next two years.
While no detail was provided, he said the money was to allow for “every possible outcome”. He said he “stands ready to allocate further sums if and when needed” to ensure the UK was ready for Brexit.
Hammond has been criticised by many Brexiters for his downbeat view of Britain’s prospects once it leaves Europe in March 2019 and this new money could go some way to placate them.
However, others were quick to point out that he could find only £2.8bn for the NHS.
BUDGET REACTION: “We are now living a reality in which the chancellor has to commit £3bn worth of extra funds to Brexit planning and only £2.8bn extra to an NHS in crisis. Stick that on the side of a bus.”https://t.co/J5yTdUiWMe
— Alex Andreou (@sturdyAlex) November 22, 2017
Treasury aides said the £3bn figure had emerged after requests from Whitehall departments for extra cash to cope with Brexit, including HM Revenue & Customs, the Home Office, Defra and the Department for Transport.
There was also bad news for smokers and diesel carmakers. The chancellor announced an additional duty on hand-rolling tobacco, on top of the previously announced inflation plus 2% rise in tobacco duty.
And, while fuel duty has been frozen again, a move that will be welcomed by many drivers, many drivers of new diesel cars will see an increase in the road tax they will pay in the first year.
From April, VED on these “dirty diesels” will be levied on one band higher than those with petrol cars, owing to the environmental impact of this type of fuel.
This will amount to about £20 for smaller cars, and £300 for larger cars, Treasury figures show.