Spring Statement 2018: everything you need to know

"And while the budget deficit looks likely to come in nearly £5 billion lower this year than we expected in November, the explanations for this imply smaller downward revisions for future years".

Chancellor Philip Hammond is offering voters a glimmer of light as he delivers his first spring statement against a slew of positive economic indicators.

Chancellor Philip Hammond today unveiled lower government borrowing forecasts as slightly stronger growth and higher tax receipts boosted the public finances.

Mr McDonnell said the Tories had added £700 billion to the national debt over the past eight years.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell responded to the statement by saying Hammond's "complacency is astounding".

Looking at employment, Hammond said he expected to see 500,000 more people in work by 2022.

The Chancellor said: "Single-use plastics waste is a scourge to our environment".

On housing, he said there is an investment programme of £44bn. Hammond's spokeswoman said it would help the government to make better judgments about whether Britain needed "fewer bridges, more programmers". However, its forecast for coming years remained unchanged, with GDP growth expected to sit at around 1.3% until 2020.

He said "substantial progress" has been made in Brexit talks.

The OBR expects inflation to fall from its peak of 3% to the Bank of England's 2% over the next 12 months.

Speaking to MPs this lunchtime he said the Office for Budget Responsibility had revised economic growth for 2018 up from 1.4 per cent to 1.5 per cent.

In 2021, GDP is forecast to rise to 1.4%, down from the 1.5% expected in the November budget.

The OBR has already upgraded its fiscal forecasts twice over the a year ago, in March 2017 and November, as tax receipts have come in stronger than previously expected.

In comments released in The Sun on Sunday (11 March) in advance of the full statement tomorrow - which in contrast to previous Spring Budgets will be a pared-down affair, as the government moves towards once-yearly Autumn Budgets from 2019 - Hammond announced that he will be launching a call for evidence from stakeholders on how fiscal measures can be used to tackle the issue of plastic waste.

Mr Hammond said his deputy Elizabeth Truss would publish the departmental allocation of more than £1.5 billion of Brexit preparation funding for 2018-19.

He also said the government was considering new taxes on single-use plastic and on the profits of tech giants like Facebook and Google.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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