March 22, 2018

Philip Hammond hints at an NHS cash boost in the Autumn Budget

13 March 2018, 06:36 | Cesar Cruz

SPRING STATEMENTMarch 12 2018 12:00pm The Times Spring statement Chancellor will get stuck into chewing gumnew Oliver Wright Policy Editor

SPRING STATEMENTMarch 12 2018 12:00pm The Times Spring statement Chancellor will get stuck into chewing gumnew Oliver Wright Policy Editor

Nodding to his "Eeyore" nickname, Mr Hammond said he was "positively Tigger-like" about the state of the economy.

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". Instead they channel sales through countries with more favourable tax regimes, for example, Ireland and Luxembourg, something that has spurred public protests in recent years.

Economic growth in 2017 was recorded at 1.7%, higher than the 1.5% predicted by the OBR in November's Budget, where it expected growth to fall to 1.4% in 2018 and 1.3% in 2019 and 2020.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said borrowing was due to fall in every year of the forecast.

The Office for Budget Responsibility has revised its economic growth forecast for 2018 to 1.5% from a previous estimate of 1.4%. He claimed there was "light at the end of the tunnel" but refused to rule out further cuts.

Cardinals will target QB Kirk Cousins, OG Andrew Norwell in free agency
Cousins had mentioned in an interview that he would "love it" if the Denver Broncos are interested in him, which they are. The Jets will make a competitive bid for Cousins and expect to get a visit from him but they don't want a repeat of 2015.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: "Our public services are at breaking point and many of our local councils are near bankruptcy". If these were to be improved, on the one hand it would keep property prices in check and on the other it would generate real benefits for not just the housing market but for the economy as a whole. His speech was repeatedly interrupted with loud jeers from the Conservative benches, which he dismissed as "Tory bully boys".

Mr Hammond, delivering a half-yearly update on the public finances, said Britain's budget forecasters expect the economy to grow by 1.5 per cent in 2018, up a touch from a forecast of 1.4 per cent in November.

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.

Sarah Hewin, chief economist for Europe at Standard Chartered, said the latest forecasts announced by Hammond looked sub-par:"The surprise for many people is how little has's a pretty weak trajectory".

Citing the success of the five pence plastic bag levy, the Treasury will be gathering evidence from environmental organisations, businesses and individuals on how the tax system can be used to reduce the UK's reliance on plastics.

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