Regional newspapers gave a lukewarm reception at best to Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget on their front pages yesterday.
The Chancellor’s speech provided splashes for several dailies across the country, with some opting for a neutral stance and others opting for outright criticism.
While some English titles focused on both the positive and negative aspects of Mr Hammond’s speech for their respective patches, both the Edinburgh-based Scotsman and the Glasgow-based Daily Record chose a more satirical route.
The Scotsman’s front page depicted Mr Hammond in cartoon form wringing cash from a window cleaner after the Chancellor pledged to hike National Insurance tax and slash tax-free dividends for the self-employed.
The Record focused on Prime Minister Theresa May’s laughter during Prime Minister’s Questions, held before the Budget speech.
The paper dubbed her ‘Theresa Bray’ and showed her as a laughing donkey, claiming she and “Tory cronies laughed their way through Budget day – while the country faced up to a decade of austerity and spending cuts”.
The Journal’s front page coverage was more balanced, with a series of bullet points used to emphasise the important areas of the speech to its readers.
It too noted the National Inurance rise for the self-employed was “criticised”, but added there would be a £90m transport spending boost for the North of England.
The Oxford Mail led on Oxfordshire traders’ positive reaction to being “Budget winners” after Mr Hammond pledged no trader losing small business rate relief would see their bill rise by more than £50 a month next year.
However, it also quoted self-employed people on its patch who had “reacted with disbelief” over how they will be affected by the NI changes.