Brexit will deliver a public service dividend, says Hammond

1 Oct 18

The government will secure a Brexit deal that will create a ‘dividend’ to keep taxes low and support public services, the chancellor told the Conservative conference today.

Philip Hammond Conservative conference 2018

Photo: PA

Philip Hammond said he was going to “stick his neck out” and forecast that Theresa May would agree a deal to “boost our economic growth”, he told delegates in Birmingham.

“A ‘deal dividend’,” he suggested, “which we will share, in line with our balance approach between keeping taxes low, supporting public services, reducing the deficit and investing in Britain's future.”

In a speech that attacked the Labour Party’s approach to the economy, Hammond said that the Conservatives would not “outspend [Jeremy Corbyn] with reckless borrowing”.

“We back business as the cornerstone of a successful economy,” he told the conference.

Hammond also acknowledged there have been concerns about the apprenticeship levy. He said that the government would introduce more flexibility on how the levy money could be spent.

The chancellor said the government will give £30m to a business-led initiative – ‘Be the Business’ - to get big companies to mentor small ones to help them develop management and leadership skills.

He also told the conference technological transformation would be the way this period in history was defined - not Brexit.

“In the next decade or so, artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, personalised medicine, virtual reality, advanced robotics and many, many other cutting-edge developments will all begin to transform our lives,” he said.  

It was crucial to “reassure the very many who will worry about what new technologies mean for their job security,” he concluded.   

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