Hammond takes centre stage to deliver Spring Statement

Chancellor to launch consultation on plastics tax

Image Raul Mee

The statement used to act as a "mini-budget", but Hammond has broken with tradition and pledged to deliver only one budget a year, in the Autumn.

Mr Hammond has said he might be able to allow a bit more public spending later this year.

Hammond said the Treasury will launch a call for evidence to examine options on reducing single-use plastics, including taxes.

Economists expect Mr Hammond will announce Government borrowing is set to be about £7bn lower in 2017-18 than had been predicted when he unveils the latest forecasts of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which will for the first time include spending estimates for the £35-39bn Brexit "divorce bill" agreed with the European Union in December.

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.

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

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

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He said: "I remind the House that the party opposite voted against it".

"As a percentage of GDP, borrowing is forecast to be 2.2 percent in 17-18, falling to 1.8 percent in 18-19, 1.6 percent in 19-20, then 1.3 percent, 1.1 percent and finally 0.9 percent in '22-'23, meaning that in 18-19 we will run a small current surplus, borrowing only for capital investment".

However, he added there will be more pay for NHS staff if management and workers reach a deal on a pay agreement. The body left its forecasts unchanged for 2019 at 1.3%.

Forecasts for growth are expected to be revised up, while borrowing forecasts are expected to be revised down.

"Today's brief address will likely see the first full analysis of Brexit's impact on United Kingdom public finances, good news in terms of lower public borrowing and economic growth higher (but not necessarily an end to austerity), as well as announcement of a range of consultations on issues such as tax for small businesses, inheritance tax for individuals and a levy on "single use" plastics", said Accendo Markets analysts Mike van Dulken & Henry Croft.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced that London will receive £1.67 billion to start building a further 27,000 affordable homes by the end of 2021-22.

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