Hammond's Spring Statement: Five more years of struggle as 'anaemic' growth set to stay below 2%

Philip Hammond has delivered his spring statement (PA Images)

Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his Spring Statement, predicting another five years of sluggish growth for the struggling UK economy.

GDP is forecast to grow at 1.5% or below over the next five years, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility.

  • GDP growth forecast to stay at historic lows for next five years
  • Chancellor says there’s ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for austerity
  • ‘Detailed spending review’ to come in Autumn 2019
  • Hammond mocks ‘Eeyores’ on the Labour benches
  • Shadow chancellor delivers scathing rebuke to ‘missed opportunity’ speech

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The Spring Statement is a new development this year – it is not as significant as a Budget and is unlikely to be about policies.

Hammond will address MPs in the House of Commons from about 12.30pm and is likely to be on his feet for just 20 minutes or so.

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He has decided voters, workers, businesses and the country does not need two major Budget announcements within months of each other, so don’t expect any substantive tax changes or policy pledges.

Philip Hammond might have reason to smile as he delivers his Spring Statement (PA)

The chancellor will reveal figures from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility on the state of the nation’s finances and economic performance.

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It’s expected that he will say borrowing is down – possibly by as much as £10bn – and that growth is up.

But with real incomes down, inflation at 3%, wage growth minimal and consumer spending tight, public confidence is brittle.

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How the reported £39bn Brexit ‘divorce bill’ will be allocated could also be addressed.

 

Pundits also believe Hammond will officially announce consultations on taxing single use plastics – possibly including a chewing gum “litter levy” – and one on a tech tax looking at how to get the likes of Facebook, Google and Apple, among others, to pay more on the billions in revenues generated in the UK.