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

British industrial production

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

The chancellor had promised MPs a short speech of about 20 minutes to deliver the government's first spring statement, deferring any tax and spending announcements to the budget, which has been moved to the autumn.

Economic growth in 2017 was recorded at 1.7%, higher than the 1.5% predicted by the OBR in November's Budget, where it expected growth to fall to 1.4% in 2018 and 1.3% in 2019 and 2020.

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.

Last month the OBR said 2017/18 borrowing would be around £43bn rather than the £49.9bn forecast last November.

He said that a business-rate revaluation would happen a year earlier than expected, that more money would be pumped into affordable housing, and that a call for evidence would be launched into measures to end late payments - a practice that has been crippling thousands of small businesses for years.

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

Government borrowing will be £45.2 billion this year - some £4.7 billion lower than predicted in November and £108 billion lower than in 2010.

Hammond said the government will tackle air pollution and plastic waste. Growth in 2017 was 1.7%, compared with the 1.5% forecast by the OBR a year ago.




Hammond's statement was received with cheers on the Conservative benches, with MPs increasingly concerned about the pressures on their local public services, including the NHS.

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".

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 also said the debt forecast is coming down, and by the end of the Parliament will have fallen significantly, saying that there is now "light at the end of the tunnel".

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 some businesses were avoiding paying VAT on sales, but he added that others were simply unfamiliar with paying taxes as this had been done on their behalf. The consultation will remain open until 5 June 2018.

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

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