Spring Statement: Chancellor Philip Hammond reveals stronger borrowing forecasts

Philip Hammond and Jean Claude Juncker

GETTY•PAPhilip Hammond declares'light at the end of the tunnel despite European Commission report

Chancellor Philip Hammond stood up to deliver his spring statement at 12.32pm. Nonetheless the upgrade remains good news - as does the 1.3 per cent growth for 2019/20 which remains unchanged, indicating that the prospect of Brexit is no worse than forecasters last thought it was.

The independent Office for Budget Responsibility predicted GDP growth of 1.5% this year, a slight improvement by just 0.1% from the previous estimate made in November.

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.

The OBR has released a statement explaining its revised forecasts for United Kingdom economic growth.

Economists expect Mr Hammond to announce that borrowing is set to be around £7billion lower in 2017-18 than had been predicted. Announced in the 2017 Autumn budget, new diesel cars have to meet the Real Driving Emissions limits for nitrogen oxide to stay within their current tax bands.

Nodding to his "Eeyore" nickname, Mr Hammond said he was "positively Tigger-like" about the state of the economy.

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".

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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.

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".

"We are determined to create an environment that is fit for future generations".

He said: "Our economy will remain and open and outward-looking, confident to compete with the best in the world".

In his Statement, Mr Hammond announced a consultation on digital payments and the use of cash. Either way, Hammond delivered a fine political speech.

Mr Hammond said his deputy Elizabeth Truss would publish the departmental allocation of more than £1.5 billion of Brexit preparation funding for 2018-19.

The November budget also saw stamp duty scrapped for first-time buyers purchasing properties under £300,000. 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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