Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

Spring Statement: Chancellor presents latest growth and borrowing forecasts

Reuters Reuters
Russell Knight | 13 March, 2018, 18:33

The shadow chancellor labelled Mr Hammond's "complacency" as "astounding" during the Spring Statement, before sounding warnings over the state of the United Kingdom economy.

It predicts GDP to remain at 1.3% in 2020, also unchanged.

Amid a clear political warning against "Labour's economic train wreck" (paired with his "light at the end of the tunnel" metaphor), the chancellor announced that growth for 2017 had been revised up by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to 1.7 per cent - up from 1.5 per cent at the Budget in November.

Government borrowing and national debt will also be covered in today's statement, as well as a quick overview of possible consultations for tax changes.

Lower than expected borrowing and higher than predicted GDP growth past year will bring a note of optimism, but Philip Hammond has already suggested it is too early to take his foot off the austerity brake.

The chancellor has hinted that he will increase spending on public services when he delivers his budget in the autumn.

By 2021 the growth forecast was 1.4 percent, compared with a previous forecast of 1.5 percent.

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At the Autumn Statement the OBR predicted public sector net borrowing of £49.9bn for the 2017-18 fiscal year, significantly lower than the £58.3bn borrowing for the year to April expected only a year ago.

As a result, private debt now amounts to 170% of GDP, providing a far bigger drag on the economy than the much anxious about public debt, which stands at 85%."Despite Philip Hammond's cheerier outlook, there is no "light at the end of the tunnel" for families across the country".

Mr Marshall said that a "far stronger push" is still needed to "fund and fix the fundamentals here in the United Kingdom over the coming months".

There was, he said "light at the end of the tunnel".

Mr Hammond later told MPs that he was "building a Britain fit for the future and an economy that works for everyone".

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. His Treasury deputy Liz Truss said there would be "no red box, no rabbits out of the hat and no tax changes".

'The stamp duty concessions have definitely prompted more interest among first-time buyers, who are often taking the place of investors at the lower end of the market. Hammond's comment that "we [the Conservatives] are the party of small businesses" and of entrepreneurs is a case in point.

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