Tom Goodenough

What the papers say: A bungled Budget could pave the way for a Corbyn government

What the papers say: A bungled Budget could pave the way for a Corbyn government
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No deal is better than a bad deal – and it’s also better than a Corbyn government, says the Daily Telegraph in its editorial this morning, in which the paper says that if Labour oust the Tories, Britain would 'become an inward-looking, statist, high-taxing country that would scare away international investors’. The ‘historic opportunity’ gifted by Britain’s departure from the EU would ‘be rendered nugatory’ under Corbyn, whose plan for government is a 'recipe for impoverishing the nation’. The claims of the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, that PFI contracts can be binned with equanimity are for the birds’, the paper says. And for all Labour’s claims that the railways would be renationalised for the sake of consumers, the real motivation is merely ideologically. ‘So when Mr Corbyn claims the Government’s handling of Brexit will harm the economy’, he should be reminded of ’the damage a Left-wing Labour government would inflict’ on the country, the Telegraph concludes.

But if the Tories aren’t careful, their disunity could project Corbyn into Downing Street. The government’s big problem, says the Sun, is the ‘Remoaner-in-Chief act’ of the Chancellor. ‘The effort’ Philip Hammond ‘puts into his glass-half-empty predictions on Brexit should instead be going into pulling together his November Budget’, the paper says. After all, his first budget was a ‘disaster’ – and Hammond ‘can’t afford mistakes like that this time’. Britain needs a ‘proper plan’ involving the building of homes that the country ‘desperately needs’. He also must ‘resist the temptation’ to squeeze hard-up Brits even further. So while Hammond’s ‘charisma’ will never ‘win’ people over, ‘a genuinely ambitious Budget’ might do just that, concludes the paper.

It’s true that Hammond is an ‘embattled man’, says the Times. Yet for all the complaints about the Chancellor’s Eeyore act, he does offer 'an essential corrective to the bullish views of some of his colleagues’ about the ease of Brexit. But some of the criticism fired in Hammond’s direction ‘is earned’, says the paper, which comes to the same conclusion as the Sun that the Budget on November 22 is a vital test which Hammond ‘must not flunk’. This must mean a Budget that provides 'radical and effective solutions to real social problems’, involving the easing of ‘planning regulations’ and building on the green belt, says the Times. Yes, ‘restoring the public finances is necessary’. Yet there is also an argument that the government should capitalise on ’today’s rock-bottom interest rates’ and borrow more. After all, ‘if Mr Hammond cannot find market-friendly remedies, he risks consigning the country to an unreconstructed left-wing alternative’, concludes the Times.