Yesterday Chancellor Philip Hammond issued his Spring Statement; as predicted this didn’t get as much media attention as normal due to the Prime Minister holding yet another vote on Brexit.
The Chancellor described the economy as being “remarkably robust” and has “defied expectations”, supported by GDP growth rates of 1.2% this year.
Mr Hammond used the Spring Statement to acknowledge the uncertainty over the economy due to Brexit, stating “The most urgent task is to lift uncertainty.”
He also warned in the case of a no deal – a sharp and sudden spike in inflation is expected, due to the economy operating close to full capacity and the impact of higher prices for imports. He went on to state that if a Brexit deal is reached, the government will hold a full spending review in the summer to set departmental budgets, including three-year budgets for resource spending, shaping priorities for the Autumn Budget.
Business & Enterprise:
Mr Hammond announced a £37 billion productivity fund, focusing on improving skills throughout the workforce, saying that he wanted to “build on the UK’s fundamental strengths”
Housing & Environment:
Mr Hammond devoted a significant part of his speech to housing and the environment, announcing £3 billion for the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme, to support the delivery of approximately 30,000 affordable homes.
In addition, £717 million of funding from the Housing Infrastructure Fund is to support the construction of homes in West London, Cheshire, Didcot and Cambridge.
There were no major changes to highlight with the focus of the government clearly on Brexit.