Chancellor Philip Hammond says there will be no giveaways in Budget

Darren McCaffrey, Political Correspondent

The Chancellor will use recent economic growth to put aside up to £60bn to boost Britain's "resilience" for future uncertainty as the UK withdraws from the EU.

Warning that Brexit will lead to "unexpected challenges", Philip Hammond said that it would be "reckless" to spend the additional money now.

Writing in the Sunday Times, he said: "As we begin our negotiations with the European Union we are embarking on a new chapter in our history.

"We may face unexpected challenges in the months and years ahead as we forge our vision of Britain's future in the world."

The Chancellor argued his approach will leave "flexibility ... through the remainder of this Parliament to ensure our economic resilience".

:: UK 'not obliged' to pay £50bn Brexit divorce bill

With stronger, unexpected economic growth set to hit 2% this year and falling borrowing costs the £27bn Mr Hammond had set aside for the end of this parliament could double to nearly £60bn, the newspaper reported.

But speaking on Sunday, the Chancellor said there would be no Budget giveaways on Wednesday.

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr show: "If your bank increases your credit card limit, I don't think you feel obliged to go out and spend every last penny of it immediately.

"I regard my job as Chancellor as making sure that our economy is resilient, that we've got reserves in the tank so as we embark on the journey that we'll be taking over the next couple of years we are confident that we've got enough gas in the tank to see us through that journey."

The Treasury will also announce in the Budget it is setting aside £500m a year to boost skills training for 16 to 19-year-olds.

Dubbed "T-levels", the Government claims it is the most significant shake-up in post-16 education since the introduction of A-levels 70 years ago.

A wide-ranging reform of technical education will see the current 13,000 separate qualifications replaced with "15 world-class routes" better suited to business needs.

The investment, from 2019, is also aimed at boosting Britain's productivity levels and will see the amount of training for 16 to 19-year-olds on technical routes increase by more than 50% to over 900 hours a year.


Mr Hammond told Marr: "We've got two big agendas. One is building an economy in the UK that works for everyone and making sure everybody has a chance to achieve their potential.

"The other is preparing Britain's economy for a global future after Brexit.

"Both of those agendas imply we need to do significantly more in training and upskilling our young people.

"In the Autumn Statement we focused on capital investment in our infrastructure, but if you talk to anybody operating in the economy they will tell you the other thing we need to address is skills."

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell told the same programme that if the Tories brought in a "fair taxation system" - without "tax cuts for the rich" and reductions in corporation tax - it would allow the Government to "invest and grow our economy".

"This is not rocket science, it's basic economics," he said.

Meanwhile, the TUC is pushing Theresa May to ensure the promises she made to working people when she became Prime Minister are delivered on in next week's Budget.

The organisation wants the Government to make good on pledges to raise living standards, ensure the economy is fit for Brexit and protect public services.

:: Watch full coverage of the Chancellor first Budget on Wednesday on Sky News

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