CHANCELLOR Philip Hammond is often viewed as a boring accountant obsessed with spreadsheets but the country"s top financier has had an exciting careerFrom a schoolboy running church-hall discos to an Essex housing developer seizing an overlooked opportunity to make millions, here"s what you need...
CHANCELLOR Philip Hammond is often viewed as a boring accountant obsessed with spreadsheets but the country’s top financier has had an exciting career
From a schoolboy running church-hall discos to an Essex housing developer seizing an overlooked opportunity to make millions, here’s what you need to know about Hammond…
Who is Philip Hammond?
Hammond has been the MP for Runnymede and Weybridge in Surrey since 1997, and was appointed as Chancellor of the Exchequer by Theresa May on July 13 2016, taking over from George Osborne.
The 61-year-old grew up in Epping, Essex, and attended Shenfield School in Brentwood before studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics at University College, Oxford, where he moved in the same social circles as May.
Journalist Andrew Gimson told Conservative Home that Hammond “has long sought to guard his privacy by appearing less interesting than he really is”.
The dad-of-three is set to deliver his first Budget speech on March 8, with experts predicting he will raise taxes so he can use a £27bn windfall to create a Brexit war chest.
The chancellor is facing a backbench revolt over plans he could increase national insurance for self-employed people by 3 per cent.
What has Hammond said ahead of the Spring Statement?
Philip Hammond has warned he will not relax his grip on the public finances, despite seeing “light at the end of the tunnel” for the economy after years of austerity.
Speaking ahead of the Spring Statement on Tuesday (March 13), the Chancellor said Britain’s debt mountain was still too high and had to be be brought down.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel because what we are about to see is debt starting to fall after it has been growing for 17 continuous years,” he told The Andrew Marr Show.
“That is a very important moment for us but we are still in the tunnel at the moment.”
Who is Philip Hammond married to?
Hammond married wife Susan Williams-Walker in 1991, meeting her when she was election agent for his friend and former colleague Lord Moynihan.
The pair have three children – Amy, Sophie and William- and live in Send, Surrey.
Susan is co-director of Castlemead and is involved in organising parties for MPs other-halves.
Ms Williams-Walker has been described as “glamorous and fun, with a good sense of humour”, according to the Express.
Was Philip Hammond a goth?
Friends have recalled Hammond’s “lovely, long silky hair”, while schoolmate Richard Madeley says he was cool and popular with a “breezy unconcern for what anyone else might think”.
Madeley says the young Tory would stroll into school with a Daily Telegraph under his arm, and revelled in political arguments with their Guardian-reading history teacher.
In a blog for the Spectator, Madeley described the 15-year-old Hammond wearing a dark leather trench-coat, shoulder-length black hair and square-heeled boots.
He wrote: “If I’d somehow intuited, as I say, that this lanky 15-year-old with the questing, beaky nose and rimless glasses, this proto-goth, would one day be Chancellor of the Exchequer…Well, actually, I wouldn’t have been remotely surprised.”
Hammond later laughed off the comments, and said goths “hadn‘t been invented” in those days. Another school pal Nina Stratford recalled drinking sherry with the teenager Hammond in his room before sharing a cheeky snog.
What is Philip Hammond’s net worth?
Despite being dubbed the “ultimate boring accountant” who loves spreadsheets, Hammond is a natural entrepreneur.
Schoolfriends recall him making cash as a teenager by running church-hall discos, and he is said to have bought and sold cars from the nearby Ford Dagenham plant.
As a student he joined a business venture to sell summer trips to the city to Iranian tourists, according to the FT, before graduating with a first and heading up several companies through the 1980s.
Reports claim Hammond is the second richest serving MP with an estimated fortune of £8.2million.
While he earns £134,565 from his job, his wealth comes from the housing developer Castlemead which he and pal Tony Gregson set up in 1984.
The company reportedly took off after Hammond spotted an opportunity in the details of healthcare reforms, which allowed health authorities to commission new doctors’ surgeries.
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Castlemead started building doctors’ surgeries within its housing developments, driving turnover from £44,000 in 1994 to more than £10million a decade later, reports the Financial Times.
So when the financial crisis battered the housebuilding sector after 2007, Castlemead hung on thanks to its healthcare revenues.
Hammond was challenged to publish his tax returns by his opposite number John McDonnell, but he refused, dismissing it as “demonstration politics”.
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