Spring Statement 2018: Key points from Philip Hammond's ‘light at end of tunnel' speech

BREAKING

There was no ‘Red Box’ today but Chancellor Philip Hammond carrying a red folder. While unveiling the Spring Statement, Hammond stuck to an optimistic tone when he said “there is light at the end of the tunnel” and that the UK economy is in better shape than expected.

The Chancellor kicked off the Spring Statement saying that the UK was the only major economy to make major tax changes twice a year, adding that this system gives businesses more certainty.

Talking about the forecasts from Office for Budget Responsibility, Hammond said: “The economy grew by 1.7% in 2017, compared to 1.5% forecast at the Budget. And the OBR have revised up their forecast for 2018 from 1.4% to 1.5%.

“Forecast growth is then unchanged at 1.3% in 2019 and 2020, before picking up to 1.4% in 21 and 1.5% in 2022.”

Accusing Labour of ‘talking Britain down’ and wanting to “spend every available penny”, the Chancellor said that the UK’s national debt is still far too high.

He added that the Government will continue to pursue a “balanced approach” and ignore those who say “every available penny must be used” to reduce the debt.

However, he said there will be more pay for NHS staff if management and workers reach a deal on a pay agreement.

The Chancellor also talked about the need to reduce plastic waste, how the tax system can drive technological change, and £20m of funds available now to businesses and universities to stimulate new thinking on the subject.

Meanwhile, think-tank OECD has raised its growth forecast for the UK economy to 1.3 per cent in 2018 from a previous estimate of 1.2 per cent. However, it left its prediction for UK growth in 2019 unchanged at 1.1 per cent.

 

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