Hammond could have ended austerity earlier without Brexit

  • Hammond could have ended austerity earlier without Brexit

Hammond could have ended austerity earlier without Brexit

Mr Johnson's analysis said that although Philip Hammond's Spring Statement was not expected to be a big fiscal event, "by once again declining to set totals for the forthcoming spending review, [Mr Hammond] deferred making some of the biggest non-Brexit decisions of the parliament".

Hammond revealed in his Spring Statement that the forecast for the country's growth in 2019 was 1.2 percent, the weakest since 2009, a sharp drop from the 1.6 percent predicted in the his budget last October.

The chancellor has announced he will launch a "full three-year Spending Review" before the summer break as long as Brexit is agreed and the "uncertainty lifted" in the next few weeks.

But he insisted the economy remained "remarkably robust".

"I hoped we would do that last night, but I am confident that we, as a House, will do it over the coming weeks".

Mr Hammond also used the statement to announce a number of extra funding boosts for Scotland, including £65 million towards the borderlands growth deal for local authorities in the Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, as well as £79 million for a new national supercomputer in Edinburgh.

Britain will have a £26.6-billion (RM143.92-billion) war chest to battle the potential damage of its exit from the European Union, a government oversight body said.

"Leaving with no deal would mean significant disruption in the short and medium term and a smaller, less prosperous economy in the long term, than if we leave with a deal", Mr Hammond said in his speech to parliament.

"That is not what the British people voted for in June 2016", he said.

Strong income tax receipts, reflecting Britain's lowest unemployment rate since the 1970s despite the economic slowdown, lay behind the improved outlook for the budget.

He said that using the Spending Review would "give us as a nation real choice" to decide how much of the deal dividend is released and how it can be shared between increased spending on public services.

MPs were expected to vote later today against a no-deal Brexit and then vote on Thursday in favour of the government seeking a delay to Britain's departure, now scheduled for March 29.

Britain's leading tax and spending thinktank said the chancellor's fiscal headroom - described by Hammond as a "deal dividend" - could be effectively wiped out under a no-deal Brexit.

In his full budget statement in October, Hammond also held out the prospect of higher spending or tax cuts if parliament backed the government's Brexit plan.

But lawmakers still rejected her deal, sending it to a second defeat since January.