Spring Statement 2019 summary: the key points from Philip Hammond’s speech

Philip Hammond used his Spring Statement to plead with MPs to back a Brexit deal and lift the “cloud of uncertainty” hanging over the economy.

It came as the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast growth of 1.2 per cent this year: a downgrade from the 1.6 per cent forecast at the Budget in 2018.

Delivering his statement in the Commons on Wednesday after MPs rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal for a second time on Tuesday night, the Chancellor said the issue was “damaging our standing and reputation in the world”.

Despite the uncertainty, however, Mr Hammond set out plans to address social issues currently facing the country.

Here are the key points from Mr Hammond’s Spring Statement:

  • Schools to get free sanitary products from September
  • Abolishing paper landing cards with Americans, Australians and South Koreans to be allowed to use our e-gates at airports.
  • A new £3 billion Affordable Homes Guarantee scheme to support delivery of around 30,000 affordable homes and £717 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to unlock up to 37,000 new homes on sites in West London, Cheshire, Didcot and Cambridge.
  • A £700 million package of reforms to help small businesses take on more apprentices, announced in the autumn Budget, is to be brought forward to the start of the new financial year in April.
  • UK’s economic progress will be at risk in a no-deal Brexit, and said he was “confident” that the Commons will agree a smooth and orderly EU withdrawal “over the coming weeks”.
  • Extra £100m for police to tackle knife crime “epidemic”.
  • New homes to be banned from fossil fuel heating from 2025.

Growth forecasts, borrowing and debt:

Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast growth of 1.2 per cent this year – a downgrade from the 1.6 per cent forecast at the Budget in 2018.

The Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts GDP growth of 1.2 per cent this year, then 1.4 per cent in 2020 and 1.6 per cent for each of the following three years.

The OBR expects to see 600,000 new jobs by 2023, with wage growth at 3 per cent or higher in each year of the forecast period.

Borrowing this year is expected to be 1.1 per cent of GDP – £3 billion lower than forecast at the Autumn Budget – and forecast to reach £13.5 billion in 2023/24, its lowest level in 22 years.

Debt is forecast to be lower in every year than predicted at the Budget, falling to 82.2 per cent of GDP next year, then 79%, 74.9 per cent and 74 per cent in the following years and 73% in 2023/24.

The Chancellor told MPs the OBR also expects 600,000 additional jobs to be generated by 2023, reaching a total of 33.2 million people in employment.


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