Make or break Budget for chancellor - and Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss
PUBLISHED: 08:28 22 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:40 22 November 2017
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There is a lot riding on the Budget - not least the future of the chancellor and perhaps even the prime minister.
If what Philip Hammond puts to the country this afternoon is not received well his critics within the cabinet – including foreign secretary Boris Johnson and environment secretary Michael Gove – will be pushing for a change at Number 11.
And the announcement has also been flagged up by Number 10 staffers as a potential flash point for Theresa May who remains weakened by stalled Brexit negotiations and the loss of her majority at the last general election.
But it is also a big day for Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss in her role as chief secretary to the Treasury.
The South West Norfolk MP works as the chancellor’s deputy and is tasked with getting the best value for money for Britain. Her role also includes negotiating with departments about – often dwindling – budget allocation, procurement policy and the controversial topic of public sector pay.
Put bluntly her closeness to Mr Hammond means if this Budget fails and he is out of a job she might be too. And many believe this role was a last chance for Ms Truss after the prime minister demoted her as secretary of state for justice after the election.
In a video posted on social media explaining her role Ms Truss said: “We are working very hard on it in the Treasury making sure we have all the plans in place for the big announcement. And we are looking at three things. First of all how the economy is performing. Secondly, how much money we are raising in taxes. And thirdly, how much money the government is spending.
“What we need to make sure is that our plans lead to enterprises thriving and also people right across the country being able to have the opportunities to get on in life.
“My particular role as chief secretary of the Treasury is making sure we get value for money for every pound that we’re spending.”
So what will be in Mr Hammond’s statement? Expect a bid to grab some younger voters, the Tories are worried about their aging supporter base and lack of youth appeal. This could come in the form of house building aimed at first-time buyers and a further bid to reduce the burden of student debt.