Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

Finance minister to give brighter outlook for UK's Brexit-bound economy

Finance minister to give brighter outlook for UK's Brexit-bound economy

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is set to launch a public consultation on how the tax system can be used to reduce single-use plastics, according to Sky News.

The Treasury will today publish information about how the £1.5bn that has been set aside for Brexit planning will be spent.

Hammond said in the next tax year taxpayers will pay £1,075 less in income tax than in 2010-11.

And after the Chancellor compared Labour to gloomy cartoon character Eeyore and himself to the more optimistic Tigger, shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne joked that Mr Hammond was "talking Pooh". He insisted he had committed £60bn to public spending, with £4bn going into the NHS in 2018/19 alone, praising staff for their work during the recent winter crisis.

"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".

The chancellor will reveal figures from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility on the state of the nation's finances and economic performance.

Growth also looks set to be slightly higher than forecast previous year - but public debt as a percentage of national income remains well above 80%.

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GDP in 2020 is expected to grow 1.5%, down from the prior estimate of 1.6%.

The Chancellor told Cabinet that over the last two quarters, the United Kingdom has seen slightly stronger productivity growth, which he said was the key to higher wages.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has revealed what shape the United Kingdom economy is in a year on from Brexit. Wages of the lowest paid are up by nearly 7%, he added.

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

Philip Hammond is expected to deliver a low-key financial update despite a plea from Conservative former Minister Gary Streeter to help councils with finances "cut to the bone". Those looking for any major spending or policy announcements will be left disappointed.

Mr Hammond said there was still work to be done, but the Government would always take a balanced approach to reducing the debt, investing in public services and keeping taxes low, said the PM's spokesman.

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