Balanced or boring, fit for the future or fit for nothing.
We’ve heard a lot of arguments over whether Philip Hammond’s budget was a good or bad one.
On the whole, the chancellor managed to escape from his Commons address relatively unscathed, but big questions were asked about slow growth, revised-down wages and whether scrapping stamp duty was really a great idea.
But there were a few things most people can get behind, and we’ve picked out the best points below:
Trailed pre-Budget Day as a good news story, the government has announced it will be looking into taxing and charging single-use plastics to help prevent pollution in the world’s oceans and protect the environment.
The move forms part of its 25-year environment strategy and comes after the introduction of the plastic carrier bag charge and a ban on microbeads.
Welcome news for everyone who’s watched Blue Planet, but it means you’ll pay a bit more for your takeaway box.
Improving Air Quality
About £220 million is set to be ploughed into a new Clean Air Fund and new diesel cars (not vans, however) not meeting emissions limits will be taxed more.
The government also plans to raise existing company car tax on more polluting vehicles from 3% to 4% from next April.
The moves were welcomed by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, who said they were “essential steps in properly addressing the growing air quality crisis this country faces”.
But environmental campaigners Friends of the Earth said the chancellor had not gone far enough.
Air pollution campaigner Aaron Kiely said: “Unchecked air pollution could cost the UK £200 billion over the next 10 years.”
If you’re planning on enjoying a Christmas pint or two, it’ll probably be about 12p cheaper after duty rates on beer, cider, wine and other spirits were frozen.
Unfortunately fans of white cider will see an increase in price, after Hammond raised fears about the drink’s high alcohol content and cheap availability.
Announcing the plan to Commons, the chancellor said: “Merry Christmas!”
More Maths Teachers
A Level students who take maths or core maths as a subject will net their school an extra £600 in funding, and a total of £27m is being invested in improving teaching of the subject in 3,000 schools.
About £42m is also set to be invested in teacher training.
But Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said the government should have focused on a “broad and balanced, fully funded curriculum for all children and young people”.
“Offering schools in desperate financial circumstances £600 per student if they take up A Level maths could steer students towards subject choices that may not be in their interests,” he added.