Marc Stears, Chief Executive of the New Economics Foundation, said:

We are facing the biggest economic challenge in decades. Work is precarious, wages are not yet at their pre-crash level, the housing crisis is worsening and inflation is looming. People increasingly feel like they have no control over their lives or their future. Now is not the time to ignore these challenges and just hope the trouble will pass. Now is not the time just to wait and see. But that is what the Chancellor did today.”

Big decisions on tax and spending have been deferred because Westminster is consumed by the Brexit process. Mr Hammond is relying on relatively resilient growth forecasts and borrowing to give the impression that all is well. But people’s experiences tell a different story. Living standards are being squeezed, private debt is ballooning and many public services continue to be strained.”

This Budget was a chance to take the first steps towards an economy that really puts people in control. Instead we got a patch-up job that postpones the difficult choices for a future after Brexit.”

Red budget suitcase
Image credit: HM Treasury

On social care:

Everyone knows our social care system desperately needs cash. But far too much of the £2bn the Chancellor promised today will go straight into the pockets of private investors rather than to frontline services.”

The Government’s new review of social care should explain how we can support a network of smaller care providers, putting dignity back into the services our friends, neighbours and relatives depend on.”

On the gig economy:

Increasing national insurance contributions for those at the top end of the self-employed spectrum is welcome as long as it does not put those struggling at the other end in an even more difficult situation.”

But meanwhile many companies are falsely defining their workers as self-employed and are avoiding paying their fair share of tax as a result. By not acting now, the Chancellor has missed an opportunity to protect workers at the sharp end of the economy and to raise much needed revenue for public services.”