The Chancellor – Philip Hammond has presented Spring Statement 2019 – what you need to know
He vowed to free up more money to help end austerity in a "deal dividend” and spend a £26.6bn Brexit war chest to boost the economy, if MPs vote to leave the European Union with a deal.
However, he said tax cuts and spending rises depended on a smooth Brexit.
- The OBR cut its 2019 growth forecast to 1.2%, the weakest growth rate since 2009.
- That is a significant cut from the 1.6% expansion predicted by the government’s economic watchdog last October.
- Mr Hammond announced a £800m increase in non-NHS spending by the middle of the next decade to keep pace with inflation.
- The chancellor also said he will be making an additional £100m available over the course of the next year to help deal with the surge in knife crime.
- With £37 billion in the National Productivity Investment Fund; the largest ever investment in England’s strategic roads; the biggest rail investment programme since Victorian times; and a strategy for delivering a nationwide full fibre network by 2033.
- The debt fell to 82.2% then last year, and is forecast to fall continuously, to 73.0% of GDP in 2023-24.
- Apprenticeship reforms announced at Budget that mean from April 1st employers will see the co-investment rate they pay cut by a half from 10% to 5%, at the same time as levy-paying employers are able to share more levy funds across their supply chains, with the maximum amount rising from 10% to 25%.
- £79 million 2.4% of economy funding for a new supercomputer in Edinburgh University which will contribute in R&D.
- A new £3 billion Affordable Homes Guarantee scheme, to support delivery of around 30,000 affordable homes.
Mr Chote also highlighted that the OBR’s forecasts were based on a smooth Brexit, with employment expected to remain steady and business investment predicted to rise.
He said the economic outlook remained uncertain, with the Spring Statement sandwiched between crucial votes that will determine the UK’s exit from the EU.
Mr Chote said no deal would probably lead to a "short-term shock to the economy" which would have implications for taxes and spending.