Philip Hammond: What business owners need to know about the new chancellor

Prime minister Theresa May has unveiled her new cabinet with Hammond replacing George Osborne. Meet the new chancellor of the exchequer...

Theresa May became the new prime minister of the UK yesterday and has already made waves with her cabinet reshuffle – announcing Boris Johnson as foreign secretary and, more importantly, Philip Hammond as chancellor of the exchequer.

An MP for Runnymede and Weybridge since 1997, Hammond is one of the Conservative’s most experienced politicians and will replace George Osborne who served as chancellor under David Cameron from 2010.

Hammond has previously worked as secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs,  secretary of state for transport, and secretary of state for defence, before his most recent role as foreign secretary.

As Hammond will now be responsible for all of the country’s economic and financial matters, Startups.co.uk has pulled together some quick facts you need to know about the Surrey MP and what his role as chancellor might mean for the start-up and small business community…

His shrewdness has earned him the nickname “Spreadsheet Phil”

Oxford University educated with a degree in economics, politics and philosophy and a wealth of technical knowledge, the Financial Times has reported that Hammond is referred to, among some Conservative MPs, as “Spreadsheet Phil” for his manner and shrewd approach to finances.

The fact that Hammond, estimated to have £9m in wealth, believes in prudent public finances might not bode too well for businesses and could signal that cuts are on the way.

He has a background in business

Before his career in politics, Hammond gained experience in the private sector and worked for medical equipment firm Speywood Laboratories. He later became a director of healthcare and nursing home business Castlemead.

Hammond also has a varied background in business consultancy; from 1993 to 1995 he was a partner at consultancy firm CMA and worked on a number of consulting projects; including as assignment for the World Bank.

Given that he has experience in the business space, arguably Hammond may be more in sync with the needs of business owners.

He supported the Remain campaign in the EU referendum

While Hammond was responsible for introducing the EU referendum bill 2015-2016 into the House of Commons, he supported the Remain campaign in the lead up to the EU referendum.

In an interview with the BBC this week, Hammond said that the Brexit vote had “rattled financial markets” and said the decision had caused businesses to put plans on hold – a view which is backed up by recent research.

Hammond has also asserted that the UK will “face challenges” in managing the economy once it exits the EU.

BUT he has pledged to send “signals of reassurance” to businesses post-Brexit

In the same BBC interview, Hammond made it clear that in his role as chancellor he wants to send “signals of reassurance […] to British business and British consumers so that we can get those decisions starting to be made and investment starting to flow into the UK economy again”:

“The most urgent thing that we need to do is send a signal to business about our intentions, our pragmatic approach to taking this agenda forward now, so that as we leave the European Union, we do so in a way that protects the British economy and ensures that Britain will remain an attractive destination for investments coming here from overseas, maintaining that flow of investment which has been creating the two and a half million jobs that we’ve created in this country since 2010.”

LGBT entrepreneurs aren’t likely to be his biggest fans

Hammond was one of four Cabinet ministers to vote against gay marriage in 2013. He has also sparked controversy in the past with homophobic statements that same-sex marriage is “too controversial” and has made reference to gay marriage being akin to incest.

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