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3 October 2016

Philip Hammond set to distance himself from George Osborne: “Times change“

The Chancellor speaks to the Tory party conference today. 

By Julia Rampen

In his early years as Chancellor, George Osborne often found it convenient to blame any hiccups on his predecessor.

Now his fellow Tory and successor, Philip Hammond, is gently doing the same.

The Chancellor is expected to sketch out an approach that is markedly different from Osborne’s at the Conservative party conference today.

He is expected to say Osborne’s flagship deficit reduction policies “were the right ones for that time”, according to the BBC, but that “when times change, we must change with them”. The Government has already dropped Osborne’s target of a surplus in public finances by 2020. 

Hammond is expected to set out plans for investment, including borrowing an extra £2bn to fund a more direct approach to house building, including encouraging new developers and using public land.

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It is clear the new Government will prioritise the state more than the liberal policies of Osborne did.

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Hammond has kept a low profile over the summer. But now, with formal Brexit scheduled for March 2017, and the Autumn Statement set for 23 November, all eyes will be on the new Chancellor.