In his first Autumn Statement, Chancellor Phillip Hammond stated that he ‘’is focused on preparing and supporting the economy as we begin writing a new chapter in our country’s history’’.
This will be the last Autumn Statement. The Budget will now be in the Autumn, incorporating a Spring statement.
According to the Chancellor, Britain will be the fastest growing major economy this year, noting the strength and resilience of the economy since the Brexit vote.
Growth is now forecast at 2.1% in 2016 up from 2% and 1.7% in 2017.
Points of note in the statement were –
- Public borrowing will be £122bn more than planned
- New national productivity investment fund of £23bn
- Doubling of UK export finance capacity
- £1.1bn to be spent on local transport networks
- 40,000 affordable homes to be built
- Treasury led review into accessing capital in the UK
- Corporation tax to fall to 17%, the lowest in the G20
- Personal allowance rising to £12,500 tax free and higher rate to £50,000
- New NS&I savings bond with 2.2% interest rate over three years
Public spending is set to be 40% of GDP – down from 45% in 2010. The government will meet commitments to protect budgets for key public services, defence, overseas aid and the pension ‘’triple lock’’ until the end of this parliament.
Tax savings on salary sacrifice and benefits in kind to be stopped, with exceptions for ultra-low emission cars, pensions, childcare and savings.
”Living within our means and investing in our future” were among the last words the Chancellor spoke to the House.