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'Light at the end of the tunnel': Philip Hammond upgrades UK growth forecast
13/03/2018 , Leah Hodgson

The UK economy has grown faster than originally forecast in the Autumn budget, according to Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.

In his first spring statement, Mr Hammond said that growth will be 1.4 percent this year, 0.1 percent higher than forecast, with the forecast for 2019 and 2020 remaining the same at 1.3 percent. Growth in 2017 was 1.7 percent instead of the 1.5 percent that was predicted. 

The forecast for borrowing of £45.2 billion in 2017-18 has been revised down from £49.9 billion, equivalent to 2.2 percent of GDP. Borrowing is expected to be 1.8 percent of GDP in 2018-19, 1.6 percent in 2019-20, 1.3 percent in 2020-21, 1.1 percent in 2021-22, and 0.9 percent in 2022-23.

With regards to debt, the Chancellor stated that the UK is at "a turning point" in it’s recovery from the financial crisis and that there is "light at the end of the tunnel" with the current debt forecast nearly one percent lower than in the Autumn.

Inflation is expected to fall back to its original target of two percent over the next 12 months. 

Mr Hammond also stated that the wages of the lowest paid are up by almost seven percent since 2015 and that there is "solid progress towards building an economy that works for everyone".

The Chancellor said that at this year’s budget he will set a path for spending from 2020, with a spending review taking place in 2019 and if in the autumn the public finances continue to improve, he will be able to increase public spending.

The next business rates revaluation will be brought forward to 2021 and will then be reviewed every three years from that date.

Mr Hammond went on to say that there had been "substantial progress" in the Brexit negotiations but that the government is still preparing for all eventualities. More than £1.5 billion of allocations for 2018/19 Brexit preparation funding will be published by the Treasury.

"We are delivering on our plan. With a balanced approach, we are are restoring the public finances, investing in our economy and our public services, raising productivity, embracing technological change and seizing the opportunities ahead as we build our vision of a country that works for everyone," Mr Hammond concluded.  

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