Philip Hammond hails "light at the end of the tunnel" for economy

Postado Março 13, 2018

The Pound to Euro (GBP/EUR) exchange rate was trending higher at the start of Tuesday's European trading as investors awaited the Spring Statement delivered by Chancellor to the Exchequer, Philip Hammond.

Philip Hammond yesterday cleared the way for an NHS giveaway in the Autumn Budget as he signalled he could be ready to loosen the purse strings within months.

The Shadow Chancellor accused Hammond of shifting the blame "onto the public services his colleagues are responsible for", and called for urgent action.

Mr Hammond said he hoped this weekend's forthcoming summit of the G20 developed nations in Argentina would help to set out some concrete steps for achieving that.

Mr Hammond has said he will not make tax and spend announcements in the statement, which he insists is no longer a "fiscal event" after he shifted the Budget from its traditional springtime slot to the autumn.

Rachel McEleney, associate tax director at Deloitte, said the move to examine taxes on online selling was, broadly, a good one: "We welcome this call for evidence - many people have no experience of completing tax returns".

On housing, the Chancellor said the Government was working with 44 authorities who have bid for a share of the £4.1 billion housing infrastructure fund.

The medium-term forecasts were less upbeat, however, with the OBR predicting economic growth of 1.3% next year (unchanged from last November's forecast), 1.3% in 2020 (also unchanged), 1.4% in 2021 (down from 1.5%) and 1.5% in 2022 (down from 1.6%).

But wait. isn't Hammond forgetting the looming economic disaster of Brexit?

He said "substantial progress" has been made in Brexit talks.

Inflation hit 3.1% in November 2017, but the OBR predicted it had reached its peak.

The predictions, made by Office for Budget Responsibility, would put the United Kingdom among the slowest among major economies as global growth picks ups, and are also drastically more pessimistic than those from before the Brexit referendum.

But all eyes will be on the Office for Budget Responsibility's forecasts for the deficit, debt, GDP and productivity, to see whether they back up the Chancellor's claim that there is now "light at the end of the tunnel". Growth in 2017 was 1.7%, compared with the 1.5% forecast by the OBR previous year.

Mr Hammond said his deputy Elizabeth Truss would publish the departmental allocation of more than £1.5 billion of Brexit preparation funding for 2018-19.

In order to facilitate a shift away from plastics, Hammond will also announce a support fund of £20 million for businesses and universities investing in research around alternatives to single-use plastics.