Budget 1) Chancellor to spend £2 billion for each school and A&E department to have a dedicated mental health unit

“Every school and hospital casualty unit will have its own dedicated mental health team in a £2 billion funding boost to tackle the epidemic of eating disorders, depression and self-harm among young people. In his budget today Philip Hammond, the chancellor, will announce a 15 per cent rise in real-terms spending on mental health services in England as part of the NHS’s five-year financial settlement. Charities welcomed the move but policy experts said that it offered only half the money needed to ensure that mental health was no longer treated as the “Cinderella service” of the NHS. There were also calls for more social care funding to ensure that the health service settlement was effective. The expansion of mental health provision will involve an increase in so-called community crisis cafés, which open at evenings and weekends to provide counselling and support without the need for appointments.” – The Times

  • What to expect  – City AM
  • The High Street has to evolve says Hammond – Daily Mail

Budget 2) There will be another one if there is “no deal” on Brexit

“The government will set a new Budget if it is unable to reach a Brexit deal with the EU, the chancellor has said. Philip Hammond said a no-deal Brexit would require a “different response”, with “fiscal buffers” being maintained to provide support for the economy…Questioned about the impact of a no-deal Brexit, Mr Hammond told Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday programme: “We would need to look at a different strategy and frankly we’d need to have a new Budget that set out a different strategy for the future.” – BBC

  • Any restoration of certainty would boost investment says Jenkin – City AM

>Yesterday: WATCH: Hammond says he’d need a new Budget in the event of no-deal Brexit

Budget 3) Conservatives call on SNP to use Scotland’s share of the NHS rise to boost GPs

“SNP ministers have underfunded Scottish GPs by £660 million compared to investment in England and must use a boost from the Budget to make good the shortfall, the Tories have argued. Miles Briggs, the Scottish Tories’ Shadow Health Minister, unveiled research showing that Scottish GPs have received a lower proportion of NHS spending than their peers in England over the last four years. He said this was the equivalent of a £658 million shortfall and this showed the Nationalists have “systematically” underfunded primary care.” – Daily Telegraph

Budget 4) Deadline to be set for big tech groups to pay more tax

“Philip Hammond will set a deadline for forcing large technology groups to pay more tax in Britain, saying he cannot stand by “looking as if we’re being walked all over by companies that are too big for us to control”. The chancellor is not expected to implement a digital sales tax on tech groups immediately in his Budget, but will outline a timetable for action to make clear to them that Britain is willing to act alone if there is no international agreement to tackle the issue. This could have far-reaching implications for US companies including Amazon, eBay, Facebook and Google.” – Financial Times

Budget 5) Option to pool retirement pots in pensions revolution

“Tens of thousands of workers will be able to pool their retirement pots under a pensions revolution expected to be outlined in the Budget. Philip Hammond is expected to announce a consultation on Dutch-style pension schemes – known as “peoples’ pensions” – which will thousands of members pay into a single pot. The approach is seen as a “middle way” between gold-plated final salary schemes, which guarantee income in retirement but can leave companies with huge deficits, and defined contribution schemes under which workers shoulder the risk of shortfalls.” – Daily Telegraph

Budget 6) Plans to increase self employed National Insurance will prompt a backlash

“Philip Hammond faces a furious backlash over fresh plans to clobber White Van Man in today’s Budget. Sources revealed he is pushing ahead with tax changes that will hike national insurance for thousands of self-employed workers.The Chancellor will target people who set themselves up as private companies, which allows them to avoid paying national insurance contributions. The Treasury believes the Taxman could be missing up to £1.2bn a year by 2023 as a result of people paying tax as if they were self-employed.” – The Sun

Budget 7) £60 million to plant more trees

“Ministers will attempt to burnish their green credentials in the budget by announcing a £60 million plan to plant more trees across the country. Under the scheme £10 million will be set aside for councils and charities to increase greenery on streets and in other urban areas. The money will be made available on a matched-funding basis and is open to bids from local authorities, community groups and charities. The Treasury said that the cash could be used to plant up to 100,000 trees, but the plan comes against a backdrop of some local authorities cutting down mature trees and replacing them with new ones. It is unclear whether the funding criteria for the new money would allow this.” – The Times

Budget 8) d’Ancona: It may not get through the Commons

“As for this budget, Hammond cannot even be sure that it will get through the Commons. The Democratic Unionist party, whose 10 MPs prop up this minority government, have been explicit in their warning that they may vote against the finance bill if they are unsatisfied by May’s negotiating position on the Irish border. This would be, to use the cliche, a nuclear option. But we are living in one of those phases in politics where cliches regain their original force. It is now more than conceivable that the DUP, perhaps in alliance with a few hard Brexiteer Tory MPs, could vote down the budget.” – Matthew d’Ancona, The Guardian

  •  We will vote down budget if it fails to halt universal credit rollout threatens McDonnell – The Guardian

Other Budget comment

  • This Budget must be bold, but balanced – Leader, Daily Telegraph
  • We welcome Brexit 50p coin to mark a genuine historic moment as we finally leave the EU – Leader, The Sun
  • End austerity for the nation’s sake – Leader, The Guardian
  • From Spreadsheet Phil to Spendthrift Phil – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail
  • Hammond needs to paint a positive picture of post-Brexit Britain and why it’s good to vote Tory – Tim Newark, Daily Express
  • There may not be Budget fireworks but it’s no excuse for a damp squib – Roger Bootle, Daily Telegraph

Every public school should take children in care to save tax breaks declares Zahawi

“Every public school should take up to five children in care to stop a Jeremy Corbyn Government taking away their tax breaks, the schools minister Nadhim Zahawi has said. The Children’s minister told The Daily Telegraph that he wants to “get between two and five kids in every independent school in the country”. Mr Zahawi wants to expand the Boarding Schools Partnership – which already offers places to looked-after children who are in the care of local authorities – to as many as 1,000 private schools. A trial scheme in Norfolk – where 60 per cent of the fees are paid by local authorities – has seen 52 vulnerable or “at risk” children placed in boarding schools over a 10 year period.” – Daily Telegraph

Brexit 1) UK has ‘rolled over’ only 14 out of 236 EU international treaties

The UK has managed to “roll over”only 14 of the 236 international treaties that the EU has signed with countries around the world, raising fresh concern of disruption if Britain crashes out the bloc without a deal. With just five months to go to Brexit, the UK is under mounting pressure to replicate agreements that the EU has with 168 countries, so that Britain can retain rights that it currently has with these nations as a result of being a member of the bloc….Britain needs to roll over about 40 free-trade agreements which the EU has with countries including Canada, Japan, South Korea and Mexico.” – Financial Times

>Yesterday: WATCH: Rees-Mogg – Treasury has ‘egg on its face’ over Brexit predictions

Brexit 2) Johnson: EU rules could stifle innovations such as the electric car

“It is well known that ever since Dyson came up with his bagless vacuum cleaner he has been the object of jealous plotting by other European manufacturers, especially the powerful German companies that are so influential in setting standards. As electric vehicles gain an ever bigger share of the market, there is ample scope for the Commission to start flexing its muscles…. It cannot be repeated too often that under the Chequers proposals for “ongoing harmonisation” and a “common rulebook” this country is offering Brussels (and the powerful European industrial interests behind the Commission) the chance to control huge chunks of UK industry, to stifle innovation, to run our trade and commercial policy, to collect UK taxes – and with no British voice round the table to raise even a peep of protest.” – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Columnist Chloe Westley: Brexiteers in Cabinet must speak up for all of us who voted Leave

Goldsmith warns of “alarming” fracking

“Zac Goldsmith has warned ministers that their plans to fast-track fracking risk turning whole regions of the country against the Conservatives and igniting a political backlash. The Tory MP for Richmond said people had legitimate concerns about fracking and that government proposals to bypass local planning decisions on shale gas wells were a mistake. “Fracking is an issue that has the potential to turn whole regions against the government,” he told the Guardian. “The drilling rigs and pollution, the industrial equipment and sheer volume of trucks all make it an alarming prospect for communities up and down the country.” – The Guardian

Merkel clings on after election setback

“Angela Merkel narrowly survived one of the toughest tests of her 13 years in office last night as her party clung on to power in a state election. The chancellor’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) lost more than a quarter of its vote in Hesse but held on to enough support to have a plausible hope of scraping together a ruling coalition with the Greens. The regional election in one of the most prosperous states had ballooned into a personal test of the chancellor’s authority after months of civil war in her government. The result was a rebuff for the chancellor’s grand coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD) and could lead it to disintegrate. The CDU was expected to win about 27 per cent of the vote, down from 38 per cent at the last election and its worst result in Hesse since 1966.” – The Times

Bolsonaro wins Brazil’s presidential election

“A far-right, pro-gun, pro-torture populist has been elected as Brazil’s next president after a drama-filled and deeply divisive election that looks set to radically reforge the future of the world’s fourth biggest democracy. Jair Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old former paratrooper who built his campaign around pledges to crush corruption, crime and a supposed communist threat, secured 55.1% of the votes after 99.9% were counted and was therefore elected Brazil’s next president, electoral authorities said on Sunday. Bolsonaro’s leftist rival, Fernando Haddad, secured 44.8% of votes.” – The Guardian

Big turnout in early voting for US midterm elections

“The early voter turnout for the US midterm elections is shattering previous records with the highest turnout in years and voters saying that Donald Trump is the main issue. Seven states are reporting a higher number of early votes have been cast of the upcoming election than in 2014, with the potential for more states to also reach record numbers. With still a little more than a week until election day, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Nevada, Indiana, Minnesota and Delaware surpassing last midterm’s voter count. A recent USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll, found Donald Trump has been the main reason for people making their decision on who to vote for.” – Daily Express

>Today: Lord Ashcroft on International: ‘The Democrats feel like the middle ground now, and that’s a bad thing’. My pre-midterm election focus groups from Iowa and Minnesota

Cameron: Create “blue belts” to save our sea

“We have the ability to draw a line around some of the most precious areas of ocean to create marine protected areas (MPAs). There can be no industrial fishing or mineral recovery in these MPAs, only local fishing. That can then replenish fish stocks and build resilience to climate change by giving marine flora and fauna places where they can adapt to changing conditions. MPAs are most successful when they are large, isolated and in place for at least 10 years. And they go hand in hand with our global efforts to combat climate change and ensure sustainable fisheries. MPAs can be found in waters from tropical Easter Island to the frigid Ross Sea near Antarctica.” – David Cameron and John Kerry, Daily Telegraph

Lawson: Twitter anonymity allows terrorists to thrive

“At least Trump — a man with the biggest ego known to medical science — does not hide behind the protection of anonymity or a fake name. Both Robert Bowers and Cesar Sayoc issued their vile threats under such cover. And while they are among the tiny minority who actually have carried out their threats, it is also the case that the filthiest and most disgusting personal attacks to be found on Twitter are issued under pseudonyms — thus protecting the person making them from being identified by their targets; or indeed by their own friends and family, who might, if they knew, be able to do something about it. What should be renamed the anti-social media has not just become a cesspit of hatred, it’s also become a haven for malevolent cowards, who would never dare to express such threats in plain sight. It is time that their mask, and that of the social media owners, was stripped away.” – Dominic Lawson, Daily Mai

Moore: Banning guns would not make America safer

“The almost universal reaction in Europe and Britain is that private gun ownership should be banned, or at least very severely restricted. But you only have to think about the reality of American life to see why this is all but impossible. There are nearly 400 million guns legally held in private hands in the United States – 120 guns per hundred people, whereas the British figure is roughly four guns per hundred. If a federal order to ban them went out, it would be unenforceable. Broadly speaking, the most respectable people would hand them in and the worst types would keep them. The growth in the criminal market would be comparable to that which happened in the Prohibition era in relation to alcohol. How would that make America safer?” – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • What’s wrong with the American Right? – Dominic Green, The Spectator
  • Nigel Farage interviews Stanley Johnson – LBC
  • How high a price will the Saudis pay for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder? – Malcolm Rifkind, CapX
  • In today’s Budget let’s send the world a message that we will thrive outside the EU – Graeme Leach, Brexit Central
  • Former Lib Dem peer faces calls to be removed from Lords over ‘anti-semitic’ post about Pittsburgh shooting – Independent