UK Outlook Gets Small Boost But Remains Stuck in Low Gear

Philip Hammond on aThe Andrew Marr Show

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell responded to the statement by saying Hammond's "complacency is astounding".

Mr Hammond said there had been "solid progress towards building an economy that works for everyone" with growth every year since 2010.

"The chancellor says there is light at the end of the tunnel".

But he also says he must cut total public debt as a share of GDP (gross domestic product), which stands at 84 per cent, its highest since the 1960s, when Britain was still repaying World War II debts.

The government has put £700mln on the national debt despite promising to have eliminated the deficit by 2015, he added.

The Chancellor will publish a call for evidence on whether the tax relief for agricultural diesel contributes to air pollution.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is set to launch a public consultation on how the tax system can be used to reduce single-use plastics, according to Sky News.

He also said the Department for Education would release up to £80 million to help small businesses with the apprenticeship levy. The government is on track to raise the housing supply to 300,000 by the mid-2020s, he said.

It will also announce how some of the £190mln will be spent on improving full-fibre broadband.

The debt forecast is almost 1% lower than in November, Mr Hammond said.

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He added that there will be more pay for NHS employees if Management and workers agree on a deal.

The borrowing forecast for 2017-18 is £45bn, £13bn less than forecast a year ago and £4bn less than Autumn forecast.

Chancellor Philip Hammond addressed the regular meeting of Cabinet ahead of his spring statement to the House of Commons. The body left its forecasts unchanged for 2019 at 1.3%.

Growth also looks set to be slightly higher than forecast previous year - but public debt as a percentage of national income remains well above 80%.

The UK economy will grow faster this year than previously forecast and the deficit will be lower.

The Chancellor told Cabinet that over the last two quarters, the United Kingdom has seen slightly stronger productivity growth, which he said was the key to higher wages. Wages of the lowest paid are up by nearly 7%, he added.

While unveiling the Spring Statement, Hammond stuck to an optimistic tone when he said "there is light at the end of the tunnel" and that the United Kingdom economy is in better shape than expected.

Britain's finance minister is expected to announce on Tuesday a modest improvement in the country's slow economic growth outlook in the run-up to Brexit, raising the prospect that he might relax his grip on public spending later this year.

But he will resist calls from Labour and some Tories to use the extra cash from tax receipts to ease the spending squeeze they say is pushing the public sector to breaking point.

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