Heads up on the UK Spring Statement due later in the day

Chewing gum on show

Chewing gum on show

Philip Hammond has said there is "light at the end of the tunnel" for the United Kingdom economy, with the government's official forecaster upgrading short-term growth projections and predicting falls in inflation, debt and borrowing - but warning of the growing impact from Brexit in future years.

Mr Hammond expressed optimism over the latest forecasts from the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR), with economic growth ahead of target for 2018 and inflation set to decrease.

Hetal Mehta, senior European economist at Legal & General Investment Management, said: "After significant downgrades to growth and upward revisions to borrowing requirements just in November, the OBR has now revised up growth (for the near term) and taken down the borrowing forecasts over the next five years".

In spite of the weakening growth outlook, Hammond described himself as "positively Tigger-like" in his optimism, and said he "would have capacity for further spending" if the economy continues to grow.

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He told the House of Commons he would "update the House on the economic and fiscal position" and "report progress on announcements made at the two budgets last year".

And he accused Labour of "relentlessly talking Britain down" with "doom and gloom about the state of the nation".

Borrowing costs for this year will be £45.2bn, which is £4.7bn lower compared to what was announced in the Autumn Budget.

The Spring Statement also included proposed consultations on reduced VED rates for the cleanest vans, and the potential contribution of non-agricultural red diesel tax relief to air pollution in urban areas.

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London is set to receive £1.67bn to start building a further 27,000 affordable homes by the end of 2021-22, Mr Hammond announced today.

The OBR predict that debt as a share of GDP will peak at 85.6 per cent in 2017-18 then fall to 85.5 per cent in 2018-19, then 85.1 per cent, 82.1 per cent the year after, 78.3 per cent in 2022, and finally 77.9 per cent in 2022-23.

He also said the debt forecast is coming down, and by the end of the Parliament will have fallen significantly, saying that there is now "light at the end of the tunnel".

He said: "Our economy will remain and open and outward-looking, confident to compete with the best in the world".

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Mr Hammond said that review would be used to allocate the money to different services in 2020-21 and beyond. Either way, Hammond delivered a fine political speech. He says its "reaffirming to see the Chancellor yet again covered the hot topic of housing, but we still haven't seen the delivery of promises from previous budgets, so only time will tell if these words will actually equate to action".

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