Chancellor Philip Hammond delivers Spring Statement

Chewing gum on show

Philip Hammond today delivered the first of the new-style spring statement to the House of Commons, which did not include major spending announcements.

Hammond has finished his Spring Statement, saying he wants the United Kingdom to be a force for good and a country everyone can be proud of.

Hetal Mehta, senior European economist at Legal & General Investment Management, said: "After significant downgrades to growth and upward revisions to borrowing requirements just in November, the OBR has now revised up growth (for the near term) and taken down the borrowing forecasts over the next five years".

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: "Our public services are at breaking point and many of our local councils are near bankruptcy".

Instead, he said the economy had grown in every year of the Conservative-led governments, with manufacturing enjoying its longest unbroken run of growth for 50 years, three million additional jobs and higher levels of employment in every part of the UK.

Mr Hammond said he hoped this weekend's forthcoming summit of the G20 developed nations in Argentina would help to set out some concrete steps for achieving that.

The chancellor also announced a series of consultations, including a call for evidence on cracking down on plastic waste; and research by the Office for National Statistics into how to better measure human capital.

On housing, the Chancellor said the Government was working with 44 authorities who have bid for a share of the £4.1 billion housing infrastructure fund. Hammond will be updating the parliament on UK's economic outlook.

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He said "substantial progress" has been made in Brexit talks.

Hammond planned to announce a pared back statement - rather than a full-blown Budget announcement - after the United Kingdom faced criticism from worldwide bodies for having two big "fiscal events" per year.

Inflation hit 3.1% in November 2017, but the OBR predicted it had reached its peak.

He said it will remain unchanged at 1.3 per cent in 2019 and 2020, before picking up to 1.4 per cent in 2021 and 1.5 per cent in 2022.

Debt is forecast to be 1% lower than expected at the time of last autumn's Budget, peaking at 85.6% of GDP in 2017/18, before falling gradually to 77.9% in 2022/23.

The debt forecast is almost 1% lower than in November, Mr Hammond said. His Treasury deputy Liz Truss said there would be "no red box, no rabbits out of the hat and no tax changes".

Chancellor Phillip Hammond has called for a deeper look at how tech giants such as Google and Facebook are taxed.

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