Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Finance | By Gustavo Carr

Spring Statement: Why is the chancellor so upbeat about the economy?

Spring Statement: Why is the chancellor so upbeat about the economy?

The OBR has released a statement explaining its revised forecasts for United Kingdom economic growth.

The OBR, the independent body set up in 2010 to provide independent economic forecasts for the government, saw less reason to be so breezily optimistic.

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

"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".

On the claim that 60,000 first time buyers had benefitted from the stamp duty changes announced three months ago, Cobbold said it would be valuable for the government to shift focus towards the three per cent stamp duty surcharge on additional homes and how it affected the rental market during the two years it has been in operation.

Productivity growth was much stronger than expected, the OBR noted.

Mr McDonnell said the Chancellor had shown "astounding" complacency in failing to deliver a funding boost for public services like health, education, councils and the police in his 26-minute statement Public services can not wait eight months for the autumn Budget for an injection of funds, warned Mr McDonnell, adding: "For eight years they have been ignored by this Government and today they've been ignored again".

Branding the spring statement as "another missed opportunity" to end austerity, the shadow chancellor added: "Today we have the indefensible spectacle of a Chancellor congratulating himself on marginally improved economic forecasts, while refusing to lift a finger as councils go bust, the NHS and social care are in crisis, school budgets are cut, homelessness has doubled, and wages are falling".

In his Spring Statement, the chancellor of the exchequer said a consultation looking at the duty paid by vans would be launched to try to increase the use of less-polluting vehicles.

"Forecasts are there to be beaten", Hammond told MPs.

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Economic growth as measured by GDP is projected to rise no higher than 1.5% in each year from 2018 to 2022.

He also issued a call for evidence on how to help the UK's least productive businesses.

Alongside new housing in London, the Chancellor says government is working with 44 areas on their bids into the £4.1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund.

Mr Hammond said that review would be used to allocate the money to different services in 2020-21 and beyond.

"The growth predicted in the hard period up to Brexit was encouraging, as was the £80m for small businesses via the Apprenticeship Levy to help them overcome the complexity of the system".

On housing, he said there is an investment programme of £44bn.

Chancellor Philip Hammond set out his vision of an "outward-looking, free-trading nation, one that is confident that our best days lie ahead of us".

NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman, said that the "amazing results" of special schools and alternative provision settings were "at risk if we don't secure more high-needs funding for schools".

Mr Hammond concluded his speech at 12.58pm.

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