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  1. ITV Report

Budget: What does it mean for the West Country?

Saving for Brexit and spending on us?

That is the challenge the Chancellor faces in his budget, but just how possible has it been?

Philip Hammond has just sat down after reading his first, and last, Spring Budget and to be honest there weren't really any surprises as the Chancellor prioritises keeping the ship steady as we head into Brexit. That said, for parts of the country like us in the South West he has made changes that he hopes will make life better. Ahead of the announcement we were told the budget will 'puts the wheels in motion for a future of growth and prosperity'.

The Chancellor prioritises keeping the ship steady as we head into Brexit.

His big give-away has been £3 billion to add to the social care pot but over the next 3 years, with £1 billion of that available in the next financial year.

So many of our MP's have been lobbying Mr Hammond to try and sort out the so-called social care crisis. With a background of all of us living longer, wanted to be treated at home and the NHS needing to become more efficient.

Social Care (funded by local councils) has been feeling the squeeze, the money won't be the golden fix all bullet but it is being welcomed by the South West's Conservative back benchers, but the basic facts of an expanding population means a long term solution needs to found and the Chancellor hopes a review, included today, will fix that.

The Chancellor announced new funding for social care. Credit: ITV News
£3bn
to add to the social care pot over the next 3 years

It is not just social care that is bothering the Chancellor though, eduction is rising up his in tray, with a fairer schools funding formula out to consultation. It aims to make sure schools get an equal share of the education cast BUT that means some schools will lose while others will gain.

There is a one off spend to fund another 110 so-called Free Schools so more pupils have the opportunity of having a place in a school rates as 'good' or 'outstanding'.

There is speculation that some of that money could be spent on new Grammar Schools, although it looks like there won't be more than 20 or so.

The Treasury says that overall school funding is at its highest level but, don't forget pupil numbers are at record levels so it doesn't necessarily mean the cash on individual students is going up. Another £216 million is going to existing schools so now the overall school budget will pass beyond £10 billion.

Some schools will lose while others will gain. Credit: ITV News
£216m
will be going to existing schools, adding to the overall school budget

We've reported a lot recently about a review of business rates where 73% of business will see their bills go down because of the rental value of their property, but that means the rest will increases, in some cases by more than 60%.

Today the Chancellor said £300m will go to local councils to help some local businesses and that is on top of £3.6 already committed to help improve the transition.

So many MP's have told me that they've been pressing the Chancellor for more cash for the businesses who are set to lose out and they will be incredibly relieved at this commitment today.

They'll also be cheered up by a £1000 cut to rates in 2017 for our smallest pubs (which accounts for 90% of them).

£300m
will go to local councils to help some local businesses

The next budget will be in the autumn (Philip Hammond has already said he wants a Budget in the autumn and a statement in the spring) and by then we'll have triggered Article 50 and therefore a better idea if the economic forecasts are looking correct.

He'll also spell out the NHS funding for the next few years. Money has been kept by for Brexit which proves the cautious nature of the Chancellor. So the obvious winners are social-care, some schools, some businesses and almost all pubs.

In all a fairly predictable and boring budget but one Philip Hammond says will build for a "brighter future" and a "strong and stable" country ahead of Brexit. Labour say the social care investment is simply too little too late and does not agree with spending on schools having any impact (as well as rejecting selective schools).

We don't have long to wait then for the next budget but the Chancellor is adamant the country "can't rest on its laurels". Known as 'spread-sheet Phil' he has certainly stood up to his reputation.

To be honest there is no certainty about Brexit so it is impossible to say today whether he was too cautious or not cautious enough, but he certainly hasn't rocked the boat and many a back bench Tory MP will have smile on their face this evening.

Although, as will all budgets, the full details of the winners and losers will only emerge in the next week or so but it seems the balance of spending on us and saving for Brexit is a tough one and the Chancellor says there's help for "ordinary working families" and for our public services but is it enough? - Hammond hopes but Labour say no!