THERESA May recently caused apoplexy among Scottish Conservatives by posting a tweet that talked as if Scotland was already a different country than the UK. But, looking at yesterday’s Budget, you can understand her confusion. In fiscal terms, the divergence between Scotland is becoming an aching void. Many of the key measures in Spreadsheet Phil’s speech either didn’t apply to Scotland or involved our old friend the Barnett bypass.

Take the headline measure: abolishing stamp duty on first time buyer homes up to £300,000. This will not apply in Scotland, where we have our own Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT). And it may anyway seem academic because very few first-time buyers pay that amount for a house in this country.

However, hardly had the Chancellor sat down than the Scottish Government was under pressure to introduce a similar tax break here. Let’s hope Nicola Sturgeon resists because this is a wrong-headed tax break which does little to help the people it is supposed to assist. That’s not my view, but that of the Government’s own independent advisers, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

The OBR says it will actually benefit home owners and only very few first-time buyers. This is because, on its calculations, it will increase house prices by an equivalent amount. This is much the same as the previous Help to Buy scheme, which largely helped house price inflation. It remains to be seen whether Mr Hammond will press ahead with this: spending £3.2 billion to increase the wealth of existing home owners doesn’t look like a responsible use of public funds. Like his National Insurance hike on the self-employed in March, it may not last the week.

The tax divergences didn’t end there. Mr Hammond again raised the threshold for higher-rate tax, but only in England. This means that many more middle-class earners in Scotland will be paying 40 per cent tax than in the south. Council tax bands have been stretched at the higher end in Scotland too, and there’s also the small matter of that minimum unit price of alcohol.

Plus, there are more tax divergences to come. There’s a consensus across the non-Tory parties at Holyrood that at least some basic-rate taxpayers in Scotland should pay more. We’ll hear more about new tax bands for middle-income earners in next month’s Scottish Budget. But you could practically write Ruth Davidson’s election manifesto already. We are about to discover whether Scottish voters really do like paying more tax.

The Chancellor’s jokes weren’t bad this year: “More maths for all. Let no one say I don’t know how to show the nation a good time”. He seemed to be trolling the First Minister by announcing a freeze on beer, wine and whisky duties in the very week the Scottish Government had the go-ahead for minimum pricing, which will double the cost of a can of normal-strength supermarket lager. By contrast, the Chancellor says he will effectively cut the price of a pint by 12p and whisky by £1.15. Message: if you want to lay less tax and get more drunk, head south.

Nor did the trolling stop there. Was the Chancellor having a laugh by claiming that Scotland was receiving another £2bn for public spending? An alert Gordon Brewer on BBC Scotland’s excellent Budget analysis programme deconstructed this in questions to Scottish Secretary David Mundell, who more or less admitted that most of this comes with strings attached, and that day-to-day resource spending was going down, not up, in Scotland.

Moreover, it appears that the Barnett bypass may have been used to prevent the extra money for nurses in England benefitting the Scottish NHS. Normally, the Barnett Formula increases Scottish funding as a proportion of increases in UK, in most cases English, departmental spending. Chancellor Hammond suggested that his proposed increase in nurses’ pay would be funded outside the normal departmental route and would not therefore yield the normal Barnett Consequentials. It’s complicated but greater use of the Barnett bypass – we last saw it applied to the “billion-pound bung” to the Democratic Unionist Party after the General Election – serves to magnify the tax divergence between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

It also poses problems for Ms Sturgeon as she tries to maintain standards. In an era of shrinking budgets and sluggish growth, there is pressure to increase the tax take in Scotland; not to improve public services but just to stand still. Under the Scotland Act, the Government has little option but to do this through increasing income tax, the toxic tax, which no UK chancellor has touched for three decades.

Of course, for all this fiscal divergence, Scotland is not a separate country. There is only one UK economy, which will become only too apparent when we leave the EU. The Chancellor allocated £3bn for Brexit in the Budget, which Labour pointed out was more than the £2.8bn he was giving the NHS. His message on growth after we leave the European single market was exceptionally downbeat.

Thanks to our dismal labour productivity – British firms prefer cheap workers to new technology – UK growth has stalled and wages have been stagnant.

Indeed, according to the Budget documents, the British economy is set to be around one-fifth smaller than it would have been had the financial crash not happened and growth had continued along the lines of previous decades. One fifth!

That means the UK will have lost approaching £400bn in annual wealth – equivalent to 10 times the entire Scottish budget. Britain is at the bottom of the G7 growth league and average pay has barely risen since 2008. On most forecasts, wages are actually falling in real terms as inflation ramps up to three per cent. This is the longest pay freeze in modern history. Yet the Chancellor appears to have no real plans for productivity other than boosting maths teaching in schools.

Renewable energy and the electrification of transport could provide growth for the future but, again, the Chancellor seems to be all over the place. On the one hand he told Jeremy Clarkson where to get off and insisted that electric and self-driving cars are the future. On the other he again froze fuel duties, which will only lengthen the life of the internal combustion engine.

Since 2010, Mr Hammond said, this freeze on fuel duties has cost the Treasury £46bn. I think even the most committed petrol heads will wonder if this money couldn’t have been put to better use.

As expected, the Chancellor tried to take the sting out of Universal Credit by shortening the six-week wait. But he didn’t do anything to stop the cuts to work allowance or the freeze on working age benefits which will continue for another two years despite three per cent inflation. It seems like the priorities of this Chancellor are somewhat awry. Extending the young person’s rail card to 26-30 year olds sounded like a ticket to nowhere for the millennial generation.

After this effort, Chancellor Hammond may be getting his own ticket to ride in the not too distant future.