IT is fitting that the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, is so myopic he can’t see any unemployed people, because as far as this Budget is concerned he is flying blind. On the eve of his second attempt at making sense of the nation’s numbers (his last in March was such a disaster that the headline increase in National Insurance for self-employed had to be scrapped within days) the Prime Minister just gave away £40 billion, or thereabouts, to the EU. So much for Boris Johnson telling the Brusselcrats that they could “go whistle”.

This latest offer to the EU in the hope of unlocking trade talks is something approaching the cost of the UK defence budget, which leaves rather a large hole in the nation’s accounts. Then we have the Brexit slump: Britain is the slowest growing economy in the G7 of industrialised nations, below even Italy. This further reduces the money governments raise in taxes. And there’s more to come.

Brexiters have pooh-poohed the departure of the EU Medicines Agency and Banking Authority to Amsterdam and Paris respectively. Who needs ‘em? Only 1,000 jobs lost. Less red tape’s a good thing all round. But these are highly significant movements and a dramatic signal to international businesses located in the UK that Brexit is a reality, and that in future the action is going to be on the continent.

Where the regulatory authorities go, so do the lobbyists, which won’t just hit London hotels. Britain’s huge pharmaceutical industry suddenly risks being out of the European loop. We may set up our own Micky Mouse Medicines agency, but who will care? We’ll still have to comply with European regulations to sell drugs to the richest market on the planet.

The departure of the European Banking Authority to Paris is hardly going to reassure banks and finance houses that the City of London is going to continue to be the world’s leading financial centre. Banks from Goldman Sachs to Lloyds have been busy setting up operations in cities like Dublin and Berlin to try to keep within the European Single Market.

Brussels is making clear that these cannot just be brass plates, as if the EU were some offshore tax haven. Banks will be expected to relocate their headquarters if they want to keep their passporting rights to operate in the single market. Well, what did anyone expect?

Meanwhile, on the home front consumers have been fighting raging price increases thanks to the collapse in the value of the pound. The average household has lost £404 last year according to the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics. That’s equivalent to a week’s pay, and more than anyone is likely to gain from today’s Budget tweaks. Moreover, Retail Prices Index inflation is running at 3.7 per cent. The biggest increase – as everyone who actually shops for themselves knows – is in food, which by my reckoning has increased by around 15 per cent in the things I buy. However you look at it, we are seeing the highest price rises since the aftermath of the financial crash. Happy Christmas.

The trouble with politicians of course is that they often don’t buy food themselves. They don’t rent their homes either (we pay for all that) which is why they are so pig ignorant about how the modern Millennials live. Young families have been priced out of buying and have been forced into generation rent at the mercy of a new class of fast money landlords. We can expect very little from this Budget to address the underlying housing crisis, which is mostly to do with cheap money and the inflated cost of land. There certainly will not be the £50bn that the Tory Communities Minister, Sajid Javid says is needed to shift the dial. There will be fiddling with stamp duties and planning regulations.

Nor will there be the £4bn that has been demanded by English health bosses to save the NHS from crisis this winter – and they’re not crying wolf this time. Instead there will be more tinkering around the edges: finicky changes that don’t mean a lot but give Mr Hammond something to fill his hour with. Offering the Millennial cheap rail cards, one of the pre-Budget leaks, is like offering discount cinema tickets to the visually challenged.

Until the UK has clarity on what Brexit means, it is almost impossible to sensibly chart a fiscal course through the coming years. We don’t even know for certain if there is going to be a transition period, during which Britain will remain in the single market. This uncertainty encourages the departure of international firms and non-British workers. And since they will often be taking their taxes with them, this means it is hard to know what kind of revenues the Treasury will be collecting.

Cuts to corporation tax and the lifting of the higher rate threshold ( in England) to £50,000 have already set limits on what the Chancellor can spend. So those poor souls on Universal Credit can expect little relief, despite the reduction in the infamous six-week wait. Anyone on benefits like Jobseekers Allowance is still only half way through a four year freeze. Public sector workers have had their pay capped, in some cases since 2010, and everyone accepts that this is having an impact on services, so there will be getting something from the Chancellor. But don’t expect riches.

As for those in the precariat private sector, who have been through the longest pay freeze since the Napoleonic Wars, it will be another case of “on your bike”. Or as they say now: Deliveroff. The Chancellor is still committed to austerity lite. He may have abandoned George Osborne’s target of a budget surplus by 2021 (which was supposed to be legally binding ) but the shackles have not been released. Brexiters wanting a happy, upbeat Budget are likely to be disappointed.

This is despite even Tory MPs calling for a spending Budget, not unlike Labour’s. “The age of austerity is over”, said the former Treasury minister, Nick Boles, on the Today Programme a fortnight ago, “the age of investment has begun”. Not under the watch of Spreadsheet Phil it hasn’t.