Autumn Budget 2017: Spreadsheet Phil’s best jokes

22 November 2017


Chancellor Philip Hammond has been accused of doing today’s Budget like a best man's speech.

But were his jokes a decent attempt to liven up a dry event and revive the serious image of “spreadsheet Phil”? Or were they simply inappropriate? Let us know at

Here are some of today’s Budget jokes in all their ‘glory’.

JOKE 1: “I did take the precaution of asking my Right Honourable friend to bring a packet of cough sweets just in case.”

This was a reference to the Prime Minister’s Tory party conference speech last month, which was repeatedly interrupted by her coughing fit. Mrs May responded by today plopping a packet of throat sweets in front of the Chancellor.

JOKE 2: “I know that Jeremy Clarkson doesn’t like them, but there are many other good reasons to pursue this technology. So today we step up our support for it. I’m sorry Jeremy, but it’s definitely not the first time you’ve been snubbed by Hammond and May.”

This is the Chancellor using his new support for driverless cars to poke fun at ex-Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson and his former co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May.

JOKE 3: “I shall first report to the House on the economic forecasts of the independent OBR. This is the bit with the long economicky words in it.”

This is at the expense of environment secretary Michael Gove, following reports that an unnamed cabinet minister had complained Mr Gove was using “long economicky words” at meetings with the PM to “audition” to be the next chancellor.

JOKE 4: “More maths for everyone. Don’t say I don’t know how to show the nation a good time.”

Announcing extra funding for maths in schools, including £600 in extra cash for schools for every A level maths student.

JOKE 5: “If they carry on like that there will be plenty of others joining Kezia Dugdale in saying, ‘I’m Labour, get me out of here’.”

Referencing ITV reality show I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, and Scottish Labour contestant Kezia Dugdale MSP, to make a dig at the opposition.


Budget 2016: Chancellor George Osborne used Crossrail 2 as the peg for a joke at Jeremy Corbyn’s expense, describing it as “good for those who live in north London and are heading south”.

Budget 2015: Announcing new funding for “internet of things” technology, which allow computer-controlled devices – such as home-heating systems - to interact with each other, George Osborne mocked the Labour leader Ed Miliband over the two kitchens at his north London home: “This is the next stage of the information revolution, connecting up everything from urban transport to medical devices to household appliances.

“So should – to use a completely ridiculous example – someone have two kitchens, they will be able to control both fridges from the same mobile phone.”