Spring Statement: As it happened

March 13, 2019

Chancellor Philip Hammond got to his feet at 12.43pm today to deliver his Spring Statement. But against the backdrop of Brexit turmoil, few commentators expected it to contain much that will be significant.

Growth will be 1.2% this year (compared to 1.6% in last October’s Budget), 1.4% in 2020 and 1.6% in each of the following three years, said the Chancellor. He also said borrowing this year would be £3bn less than forecast in the Autumn Budget.

While the forecasts are of real importance they could be thrown into chaos if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal.

The Chancellor also said he would launch a three-year spending review as long as the UK had an orderly departure from the EU. There could also be a 'deal dividend' if the UK left in an orderly manner.

However, a no deal Brexit would lead to a smaller, less prosperous economy in the long term. 

Chancellor mocked by Labour MPs when he says his party is the party of business. He says he wants to build an economy that works for everyone and another 600,00 new jobs would be created by 2023. The OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) also revised its wage growth up, to at least 3% each year.

The economy remained robust and had “defied expectations”, he said. There will be a £3bn Affordable Homes Guarantee scheme to support delivery of around 30,000 affordable homes and fresh standards for new housing to end fossil fuel heating by 2025.

More action would be taken to avoid late payments hitting small businesses, he said. 

Britain needed to embrace the technology of the future, so it can “slay the twin demons of low productivity and low wages”, he said, and the upcoming spending review will focus spending on raising productivity. 

There will be a review of global tech giants to ensure they pay a fair share in the UK, while Mr Hammond also asked the Competition and Markets Authority to undertake a study of the digital advertising market.

The Chancellor sat down at 1.19pm.

Ahead of making his statement in the Commons, the Chancellor tweeted that he would be making announcements on infrastructure, housing, skills, technology and green energy.

Bloomberg Economics claimed this morning that Mr Hammond had, however, been forced to increase his ‘war chest’ for a no-deal Brext from £15bn to £20bn.



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