Monday, 18 June, 2018

Chancellor's Spring Statement does offer 'good news' for Cumbria

Philip Hammond GETTYPhilip Hammond is considering a green tax on chewing gum
Scott Davis | 14 March, 2018, 00:32

In today's Spring Statement, Hammond said the government would launch an investment programme of at least £44 billion over the next five years was announced at Autumn Budget 2017, "putting us on track to raise the supply of homes to 300,000 a year on average by the mid-2020s". As a result, private debt now amounts to 170% of GDP, providing a far bigger drag on the economy than the much anxious about public debt, which stands at 85%."Despite Philip Hammond's cheerier outlook, there is no "light at the end of the tunnel" for families across the country".

Despite the slow overall growth seen for Britain, the government is on course to borrow 20.3 billion pounds ($28.4 billion) less in cumulative terms between 2017/18 and 2022/23 than the OBR predicted in November.

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

But he urged Tory MPs to "make absolutely sure" it isn't shadow chancellor John McDonnell's "train hurtling out of control in the other direction", as he attacked Labour's economic plans.

Calling on the nation to do even better than predicted, the Chancellor said: "That's the OBR's forecast - but forecasts are made to be broken".

Britain's so-called "Brexit bill" - or the final divorce settlement that the government will pay Brussels to sever ties with the European Union in a year's time - is estimated to stand at £37.1 billion (42 billion euros, $52 billion), according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) that number crunches on behalf of the government.

They also forecast United Kingdom payments to Brussels as part of the financial settlement would not end until 2064.

He said: "But we will continue to prepare for all eventualities and today ... the chief secretary is publishing the departmental allocations of over £1.5bn of Brexit preparation funding for 2018/19".




Mr Hammond said he was inviting cities across England to bid for a share of £840 million to deliver on "local transport priorities".

But, in response, Mr McDonnell accused Mr Hammond of "astounding" complacency.

"We face – in every public service – a crisis on a scale we've never seen before", he said. "They are telling him he needs to act now".

With the end of a rather long dark winter for British consumers coming to an end, the chancellor came as close as anyone has in signalling an end of austerity, declaring emphatically there is "light at the end of the tunnel".

In this respect then, when coupled with warnings of the dire economic calamities of a Corbyn government, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the Spring Statement was an extended party political broadcast and not much else.

Nick Macpherson, the former top civil servant at the Treasury, described Mr Hammond as "sensible" not to announce any new major spending on Tuesday, adding the United Kingdom needs "headroom against future shocks".

The Chancellor attempted to deliver a more upbeat statement amidst the uncertainty that surrounds the United Kingdom economy, pointing to signals for stronger growth and falling inflation.

"Growth forecasts awful compared with what we thought in March 2016, terrible by historical standards and awful compared with most of the rest of the world".

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