Hammond hails 'light at the end of the tunnel' for economy

Gum on pavement

GETTYChewing gum on the pavement

The OBR also revised its growth forecast for 2018 up to 1.5% from 1.4%.

Growth in 2017 was 1.7%, compared with the 1.5% forecast by the OBR past year.

Mr Hammond has refused to increase spending for now, warning that Britain still faces a sky-high debt burden - but today suggested he will ease austerity at the next Budget this autumn.

As expected, there were no new tax and spending announcements, Mr Hammond explaining this would bring the UK's economic policy in line with other major countries.

"We've got used to growth of 2 to 2.5% a year since the last war really and if you actually look at what other economies around the world are doing, they're mostly doing quite a lot better than the United Kingdom economy".

The change is part of plans to revalue rates every three years, meaning changes in business rates will be less dramatic at each revaluation.

The Chancellor told Cabinet that over the last two quarters, the United Kingdom has seen slightly stronger productivity growth, which he said was the key to higher wages.

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"Light at the end of the tunnel", he added.

Britain will not pay off its Brexit divorce settlement until the year 2064 - 46 years from now - according to the latest economic forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility.

However, he said that if public finances continued to reflect current improvements by the autumn, then he "would have capacity to enable further increases in public spending and investment in the years ahead".

Gross domestic product is projected to grow 1.5 per cent this year, Chancellor of the Exchequer Hammond said in a budget update that hiked prior guidance of 1.4 per cent.

"The Chancellor of the Exchequer has always been keen to have only one major fiscal event a year and today's Spring Statement was just that - a statement of the latest borrowing and growth projections without any fanfare, or new policy announcements".

The chancellor's stuck to his word of keeping the Spring Statement to a short update on the United Kingdom economy, and is saving all his big rabbit-out-a-hat policy changes 'til Autumn.

The Treasury said that the call for evidence "will explore how changes to the tax system or charges could be used to reduce the amount of single-use plastics we waste by reducing unnecessary production, increasing reuse, and improving recycling".

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Hammond said an agreement has now been reached in the West Midlands to create 215,000 homes by 2030/31, with the help of a £100m grant from the land remediation fund.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced that London will receive £1.67 billion to start building a further 27,000 affordable homes by the end of 2021-22.

"That is a turning point in this nation's recovery from the financial crisis a decade ago", said Mr Hammond.

'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.

"As the global growth backdrop holds firm, and with progress on a Brexit transition deal potentially announced next week, we believe downside risks to growth in the short-term are limited".

Mr Hammond concluded his speech at 12.58pm.

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