Spring Statement: Hammond announces 27000 new affordable homes in London

Philip Hammond and Jean Claude Juncker

In comments released in The Sun on Sunday (11 March) in advance of the full statement tomorrow - which in contrast to previous Spring Budgets will be a pared-down affair, as the government moves towards once-yearly Autumn Budgets from 2019 - Hammond announced that he will be launching a call for evidence from stakeholders on how fiscal measures can be used to tackle the issue of plastic waste.

Borrowing is now forecast to be £45.2 billion this year, £4.7 billion lower than forecast in November.

Britain's sluggish economy will grow slightly more quickly than previously thought this year in the run-up to Brexit, lowering the government's expected borrowing, chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond said on Tuesday.

He said that the OBR is projecting headroom for the Government of £15.4bn in 2021 versus his 2 per cent of overall GDP borrowing target. But officials were keen to play down the Chancellor's statement as a short announcement on the state of the public finances rather than an outline of new tax and spending policies.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said Mr Hammond "must use today to act and end austerity".

It is expected to be "the first sustained fall in debt for 17 years, a turning point in the nation's recovery from the financial crisis of a decade ago".

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

It predicts GDP to remain at 1.3% in 2020, also unchanged. "That's a very important moment for us", he told The BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday. "We have to get debt down".

He also took aim at Labour's efforts to "undermine the market economy", which Hammond says is responsible for having lifted the country's quality of life.

Hammond said real wage growth was expected to run positive from the first quarter of 2018/19, and would be "steady thereafter".

Mr Hammond is also facing calls from his own side to call a halt to the public spending squeeze.

Mr Streeter told the Commons yesterday that the Government has an "opportunity" to be "more generous with efficient local authorities".

Tory Brexiteer John Redwood has also argued that the chancellor can afford to borrow to invest in schools, defence and the NHS, and "start to think about how we spend that Brexit bonus that comes as soon as we stop sending so much money to the European Union as contributions".

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