Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Science | By Eileen Rhodes

Spring statement: Philip Hammond hails a bounce in Britain's finances

Spring statement: Philip Hammond hails a bounce in Britain's finances

The OBR said the biggest surprise in the data since November was a pickup in productivity growth but it said this was caused by people working fewer hours rather than producing more or weaker employment growth.

The OBR also lowered its forecast for borrowing in 2017-18 to £45.2bn from £49.9bn predicted in November.

The Office for Budget Responsibility upgraded its forecast for growth in 2018, from 1.4% to 1.5%.

Hammond's planned revaluation of business rates - issued during his Spring Statement on March 13 - would be brought forward a year to 2021, and be followed by revaluations every three years, with the next taking place in 2024.

Mr Hammond said the forecasts confirmed "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".

Similarly, while Hammond was able to announce that the OBR had cut its estimate of government borrowing in the current 2017/18 financial year by nearly £5bn to just over £45bn, this was the result of a cyclical rather than a structural improvement in the state of the public finances.

Growth forecasts were unchanged at 1.3% for 2019 and 2020, however with a pickup of 1.4% in 2021 and 1.5% in 2022.

More news: Maxine Waters Complains About Trump's Name-Calling, Labels Him 'Con Man Don'

Graham Poles, tax partner at Armstrong Watson, said: "The statement did deliver some good news".

UK Music have warned Chancellor Philip Hammond that the country's music studios and venues "need help now" from the "huge hikes in business rates" following last year's revaluation.

"The growth predicted in the hard period up to Brexit was encouraging, as was the £80m for small businesses via the Apprenticeship Levy to help them overcome the complexity of the system".

He also used his speech to attack the plans of the opposition Labour Party to spend and borrow more. The economy could implode if the Government doesn't walk that fine line. But the downward revision to borrowing since November will diminish over the next two years because of upward revisions to debt interest and some other spending. The lack of a mention of any pension changes may be a relief to pension practitioners to some extent, though many had hoped for an increase to the Lifetime Allowance over and above what had been already agreed previously.

"From a Cumbrian perspective, we must focus our efforts on submitting a robust bid for part of the potential £840m fund being made available for investment in local transport with an obvious opportunity being improving links between Carlisle and Britain's Energy Coast". While UK Music welcomed the decision to bring forward the revalution by one year, it also stressed that the move fell well short of the urgently-needed review to help thousands of businesses in the UK music industry.

"It would be great to see struggling businesses and future entrepreneurs learning efficiencies from the successful business leaders of today".

Like this: