Excl: Hammond ‘misspoke’ with 650,000 new homes #Budget2018 promise (video)

Philip ‘Spreadsheet Phil’ Hammond

Chancellor Philip Hammond made a point of ‘hamming it up’ for the Tory gallery during his budget speech this afternoon, pausing frequently to allow clearly pre-planned cheers and cries of ‘more’ from the Tory back benches.

Perhaps these unaccustomed attempts to portray a personality put him off – because his maths when he reached a supposed ‘boost’ to housing was a million miles away from the arithmetic he used less than two years ago.

And this was not some peripheral matter. According to Hammond, it was in an area that is apparently so vital that he claimed that without it, it’s impossible for the government to solve the UK’s productivity shortfall or to give ‘British people the high standards of living [they] deserve‘:

£500 million sounds a lot – but to ‘unlock’ six hundred and fifty thousand homes? That works out at only £769 per home.

Had Hammond come up with a new form of ‘affordable housing’? No.

But Hammond said the cash would ‘unlock’ the homes via the ‘Housing Infrastructure Fund‘ (HIF) – so if he’s just talking about laying roads, pipes and cables to areas where housing can be built, perhaps that’s a reasonable amount?

No – according to the ‘2016 Hammond’.

When Hammond announced the creation of the HIF in late 2016, the fund was allocated an initial amount of £2.3 billion – and the government said this would ‘help to deliver up to 100,000 new homes‘:

hif fundinghif funding cropped

So the maximum expectation for what £2.3 billion would ‘unlock’ was 100,000 homes. The simple arithmetic makes that an amount of £23,000 per home – to build roads and schools, lay pipes, cables, rail track and whatever other infrastructure is needed to make new housing viable.

Yet today, Hammond announced just over a fifth of that amount in additional spending – £500 million – but claimed it would unlock six and a half times as many homes.

£769 per extra home, compared to an initial allocation of twenty three thousand pounds in the initial plan.

Clearly there was a major problem with this Budget claim.


But the reality of the Chancellor’s claim – in an area Hammond himself described as absolutely essential for the UK’s productivity and the living standards of our citizens – was considerably more murky than mere shoddy arithmetic.

The SKWAWKBOX contacted the Treasury for an explanation of this enormous difference between the originally-claimed efficiency and Hammond’s vastly lower cost per claimed home now.

After considerable confusion at the Treasury end – the initial response was ‘there’ll be a formula somewhere for it’ – a Treasury spokesperson called back with an explanation that actually explained very little:

What the Chancellor meant today was that the additional £500 million promised – together with the original £5 billion allocated – would unlock 650,000 new homes in total. He misspoke when he said the 650,000 homes would be on top of those the existing fund would already unlock. We’ll have to change the written record.

When asked where the £5 billion figure came from when the government’s own introduction to the RIF only mentions £2.3 billion, or how 100,000 homes for that £2.3 billion would morph into six and a half times as many new homes for an investment of only just over twice as much, the spokesperson was unable to provide any clarification.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Whichever version of Philip Hammond’s claim you look at, the maths doesn’t add up. Was he simply hoping £500 million and 650,000 new homes would sound impressive and nobody would scrutinise too closely?

And why did the Treasury’s subsequent ‘explanation’ rely on a funding figure more than twice as high as the government’s documentation states – and why was the Treasury unable to explain either that difference or the sudden leap from 100,000 new homes to a current claim of 650,000 from a spend that basically only doubled, even if the figure is reliable?

If Hammond so seriously ‘misspoke’ on such a crucial – Hammond’s own claim – matter, how many other times did he ‘misspeak’ and mislead the nation?

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  1. If the member for Hackney had made such a schoolboy error the media would have a field day. I am willing to bet this doesn’t get a mention,nor will giving schools a few quid for those “little extras” like teachers,desks,books etc.

  2. Yes the death knell for Tory (and global Neo-Liberalism) is its drive for cheap Labour which restricts working peoples’s ability to purchase commodities.
    The latest victims will be Brazilian working people as their Right Wing Barbarian President (probably secretly funded and backed by the Right Wing US Barbarians and aided by social media profiling – aiming to play to peoples prejudices and fears) but I think one of the saddest comments I heard was from one of ‘Bolisanario the Barbarian’s’ supporters that “they will now spend more on health and education – dream on as all Neo- Liberals redistribute wealth to the rich!
    The Tories, Trump, Erdogen et al are Right Wing Neo-Liberal Barbarians and whislt they enjoy their moment in the sun I believe they can be defeated if we promote a grassroots, bottom up, participatory, left wing democratic socialism WITH which will also help to wither the top down bourgeois socialisms of the likes of China and North Korea.
    Diverse working people of the World really create the wealth and Right Wing Forces (and sometimes Fake Left forces) legally steal it – if we are honest with diverse working people then we could all win the World; to us it would be left wing democratic socialism but to the many it would just be a fairer,more compassionate, more equal and greener World.

  3. At some point during the speech the numbnuts hailed his smoke-and-mirrors nonsense as “a budget for the future” – presumably to distinguish it from all those other inferior budgets that were budgeting for the past.

  4. Sounds like another Tory ‘mis-truth’ – lies, damned lies and … a Tory promise

  5. Great , next time some Tory twat tells us that Labour figures don’t add up , simply point them to this ” miss-spoke” example .
    Spreadsheet Phil , more like he can’t even us a simple calculator !

  6. cheap affordable housing , tory speak for how many cardboard boxes can we buy for this lot,

  7. Remember when he was £billions out about HS2 as well?

    ‘Misspoke’ then as well, I imagine. The anaemic, anhydrous, innumerate idiot. I mean – just look at him/. He’d crumble to dust if you shook his hand (Not that you’d want to).

    Make you wonder how tories get their seats if they persistently ‘misspeak’ or ‘inadvertently’ mislead the house.

    1. Don’t be so mean – you’d be a bit dry and crispy if you were 3000 years old and you’d come all the way from Egypt.

  8. Affordable homes for everyone, everyone on £130k pa that is! Does he take us all for idiots? (Don’t answer that!)

  9. They also quietly announced a new course exclusively for prospective tories, to enter this course you have to make monthly donations to the tory party, have a income of at least 50k a year, then you can enrol on this course for the cheap sum of 1k a month, the rewards on completion are good, tory party political selection, pay, expenses, second homes, excellent hotels, business flights you name it, it is yours, oh and details about the course

    Lying in Public office and getting away with it

  10. are these the new mfi flatpack diy cardboard homes? … seriously tho the maths don’t add up & this is from me a normal schooled individual. . . .

  11. The ‘good’ news is that the Tories have found enough money to increase the subsidies for GROUSE SHOOTING ESTATES from £30 PER HECTARE TO £56 PER HECTARE.
    Everyone can rejoice that the Tory party are taking care of the ‘essential stuff’ by increasing the subsidies for these poor land owners from £45,000,000pa to £84,000,000pa .

    1. Grouse shooting estate subsidy has been uppermost in my mind for a long time.
      Phew! Glad that’s finally settled.
      Forelocks tipped to the toffs for keeping those fluttery delicious bastards from overrunning our (sorry, their) countryside.
      Hiphip – bang.

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