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Budget is ‘make or break’ for Hammond

The lead in to the Chancellor’s statement today has been “the worst Budget build-up in history”, cabinet sources have told the media.

Theresa May’s team wrested control of a last-minute briefing away from Number 11 this morning, The Telegraph reports.

The news comes on the back of other reports that May’s advisers have also expressed frustrations over a comment made on a weekend TV show by Chancellor Philip Hammond that “there are no unemployed people” in the UK.

Sources have described the Budget as “make or break” for Hammond.

A senior Conservative told the Guardian: “None of us know how difficult it is to be in that job. He has a choice, and it’s absolutely his choice to make. But it’s the way he acquits himself – he doesn’t go out of his way to make friends. He could have tried to bring people with him, be he chose not to. He’s got a hard job but the way he deals with it makes it harder for himself.”

Few advanced warnings of Budget announcements have been released this time around. Measures to improve the speed of housebuilding and extend discounted railcards to more young people are some of the hints to have been briefed on by Whitehall.

An announcement on additional funds for teacher training and the uptake of maths beyond age 16 was rushed out last night, according to the Telegraph.

Brexit is likely to be a key theme. Hammond is set to say that the UK must “seize the opportunities” from the UK’s departure from the EU.

Technology spending looks set to feature heavily too, with Hammond due to promise to “invest to secure a bright future.”

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