UK's sluggish economy to grow a bit more quickly: Hammond

UK's sluggish economy to grow a bit more quickly: Hammond

The Chancellor attempted to deliver a more upbeat statement amidst the uncertainty that surrounds the United Kingdom economy, pointing to signals for stronger growth and falling inflation.

The Office for Budget Responsibility upgraded its forecast for growth in 2018, from 1.4% to 1.5%.

Those forecasts, based on the assumption that Britain would stay in the European Union, saw growth of above 2 percent for each year between 2018 and 2021.

Mr Hammond announced on Tuesday that the Government had marginally revised up its growth forecast and slightly decreased its public sector net borrowing prediction.

Instead, he said the economy had grown in every year of the Conservative-led governments, with manufacturing enjoying its longest unbroken run of growth for 50 years, three million additional jobs and higher levels of employment in every part of the UK.

Borrowing is now forecast to be £45.2 billion this year, £4.7 billion lower than forecast in November.

It should last somewhere between 20-30 minutes, but the entire session is expected to go on for a couple of hours.

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However, backbench Brexiteers will be more interested in the Brexit divorce bill, which Mr Hammond will also address in the Spring Statement accompanied by figures to be released by Britain's fiscal watchdog today.

The new forecasts for net borrowing as a percentage of GDP are 1.8% for 2018/19, 1.6% for 2019/20, 1.3% for 2020/21, 1.1% for 2021/22 and 0.9% for 2022/23.

Debt will peak at 85.6 per cent this year, and then fall to 77.9 per cent in 2022 and 2023.

It is expected to be "the first sustained fall in debt for 17 years, a turning point in the nation's recovery from the financial crisis of a decade ago". He claimed there was "light at the end of the tunnel" but refused to rule out further cuts.

This Government is determined that our generation should leave the natural environment in a better state than we found it, and improve the air we breathe.

Mr Hammond said that review would be used to allocate the money to different services in 2020-21 and beyond. The consultation will remain open until 5 June 2018.

Mr Hammond announced that London would receive and additional £1.7 billion to deliver 26,000 affordable homes - including homes for social rent, taking the total number to more than 116,000 by the end of 2021/22. He says its "reaffirming to see the Chancellor yet again covered the hot topic of housing, but we still haven't seen the delivery of promises from previous budgets, so only time will tell if these words will actually equate to action".

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