Hammond throws down gauntlet to Corbyn and says 'bring it on'

Ebony Scott
October 4, 2017

Hammond said this was just "a rhetorical flourish".

The difficulty for the Prime Minister is that the success of her horticultural efforts is now in danger of undermining her central line of attack against Jeremy Corbyn and Labour.

Asked about whether Johnson can be dismissed by Prime Minister Theresa May for his perceived intransigence on Brexit, Hammond said: "I always operate on the principle that everybody is sackable".

Mr Hammond made an important point.

"Our economy is not broken: It is fundamentally strong", Hammond said, while also accepting that a lack of progress in talks on Britain's divorce settlement with the European Union and uncertainty over future ties were weighing on businesses. And the wealth that a strong market economy creates which, in the end, pays for our public services.

His words echo those of May, who last week issued her own defence of capitalism - a sign of growing concern about the threat Labour poses to the pro-business orthodoxy that has underpinned British economic policy since Margaret Thatcher's reforms in the 1980s.

She added: 'I think we need to be able to tell young people that the future is theirs for the shaping and that governments are only facilitators of what they do.

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Responding to the chancellor's comments, Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the Confederation of British Industry, said the United Kingdom is facing a generation defining-challenge.

Picking up on his theme from earlier in the day, Hammond called on businesses to back the government in its aim to defend the free market.

She said the government must show young people "that we're listening hard and we're a listening government".

Young people are taking on a ugly amount of debt, and many don't even know what they are getting from it.

"If we go down the road of offering a money tree, turn on the taps, all-things-to-all-people Corbyn solutions, they'll vote for the real thing".

The chancellor told British Chambers of Commerce Director-General Adam Marshall that while he understood businesses' need for clarity over Brexit, they should in turn do their bit to help him show that's precisely what is holding investment back.

Meanwhile, Labor's shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who was fiercely attacked in Hammond's speech, was equally scathing about his opposite number. This is not about Conservative versus Labour values; this is a conflict between what had been the economic consensus.

Other reports by GizPress

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