“A Budget for hardworking families…”
Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered a Budget which he declared “shows the British people that their hard work is paying off”. Mr Hammond was under intense pressure to loosen the purse strings. He did announce several new cash injections, while suggesting that “the era of austerity is finally coming to an end”.
OBR FORECASTS The Chancellor began his statement by revealing the latest economic forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) which showed a significant improvement in the public finances. Public borrowing for the current fiscal year was forecast to be £11.6bn lower than predicted in the Spring Statement and is then forecast to fall from £31.8bn in 2019/20 to £19.8bn in 2023-24, which would be its lowest level in more than 20 years. The OBR also raised its economic growth forecast for next year to 1.6% from 1.3%, while the 2020 growth forecast was revised up to 1.4% from 1.3%. Growth forecasts for 2021 and 2022 were maintained at 1.4% and 1.5% respectively, and a new forecast of 1.6% was unveiled for 2023.