PHILLIP Hammond’s Budget on October 29 was given on his own understanding that a new emergency Budget may be necessary next March if we crash out of the EU.

As such, it merely tinkered around the edges, with little investment for urgently needed housing, infrastructure or services.

Potholes provided an exception - more money allocated for those than for schools.

£33.7 billion was set aside to fund a no-deal Brexit - more than will be spent on the NHS.

Nothing for the police or prison services.

George Osborne’s previous cut of £3 billion from the Universal Credit budget, effectively destroying its aim of making work pay, was largely ignored.

The modest increase in Working Tax Credit will not go far enough to address these earlier cutbacks.

Perhaps the most glaring omission from the Budget was the lack of response to the conclusions of the World Conference on Climate Change only days earlier, which gave world leaders a moral obligation to ramp up action on Climate Change.

Instead, we saw a freeze on fuel duty from a Government that has already slashed support for renewables and banned onshore wind turbines, supported airport expansion and is now trying to relax planning regulation for fracking against the democratic wishes of local communities.

All we had was a very modest tax on the manufacture and import of certain plastic packaging.

Mr Hammond’s statement that “austerity is coming to an end” made no mention of the higher taxes that will be required to maintain real spending on public services.

Fears about Brexit have already weakened public finances considerably, and there is a slump in economic growth and falling productivity. Almost half of the much-boasted tax cuts will benefit the top 10 per cent of households, who need no additional help.

But perhaps the part of the Budget that most upset me was the patronising allowance awarded to schools for those “little extras”, in a move that totally ignored the haemorrhaging of teachers from the education service, growing class sizes, and decrepit infrastructure.

Even Mr Hammond’s toilet jokes fell flat, as he appeared unaware that large numbers of these useful public conveniences have now been closed due to council cutbacks caused by lack of Government funding.

This was a Budget that merely tweaked a few fiscal commitments - a Budget looking over its shoulder at the elephant in the room that is Brexit.