Monday, 18 June, 2018

Philip Hammond hails "light at the end of the tunnel" for economy

You could be taxed if you spit chewing gum out in the street Ministers hope chewing gum will be considered alongside other environmentall damaging plastics
Laurie Berry | 13 March, 2018, 18:39

He told the Commons:"If, in the autumn, the public finances continue to reflect the improvements that today's report hints at then I would have capacity to enable further increases in public spending and investment in the years ahead, while continuing to drive value for money to ensure that not a single penny of precious taxpayers' money is wasted". But like ostriches, some can bury their heads in the sand and ignore the opportunities in front of them.

The economy is expected to grow more strongly than predicted in 2018 with public finances also improving. Meanwhile, he said the budget deficit - the difference between public spending and income from taxes - was also set to beat expectations.

The OBR's forecast for GDP growth was raised slightly in 2018 to 1.5 per cent, from 1.4 per cent, but growth is still forecast to fall to 1.3 per cent in 2019 and 2020, and only bumping up slightly to 1.5 per cent in the final year of the forecast - well below the two per cent level long seen as the UK's potential. 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.

He said the predicted falling debt load as a percentage of GDP in the 2018-19 fiscal year marked a "turning point in this nation's recovery".

"The Chancellor has proclaimed today that there's light at the end of the tunnel".

Mr Hammond has said he might be able to allow a bit more public spending later this year.

In response, shadow chancellor John McDonnell told MPs "we face, in every public service, a crisis on a scale we have never seen before".

Rahul, Priyanka Gandhi forgiven father's assassins
The Tamil Nadu government had written to the Centre earlier, expressing its intent to release Perarivalan, Murugan, Santhan, Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran - all serving life terms for assassinating former Prime Minister Gandhi in 1991.

"[He] proclaimed that there is light at the end of the tunnel".

"This underlines just how vital it is to secure a Brexit that delivers for jobs, and an industrial strategy that helps transform United Kingdom productivity in all corners of the country", she said.

Chancellor Philip Hammond stood up to deliver his spring statement at 12.32pm.

The government's slender majority meant Hammond had limited room for manoeuvre and scant political cover for any missteps, meaning he was always likely to make few changes despite calls from Labour and some Tories to ease nearly a decade of austerity.

The UK government will negotiate a Brexit that delivers prosperity and jobs, Hammond said.

The OBR's forecasts included the first assessment of how much Britain has promised to pay to the rest of the European Union as part of the financial settlement after Brexit.

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