Spring Statement 2018: Further details on plans to tackle United Kingdom housing crisis

Cheryl Sanders
March 13, 2018

Philip Hammond yesterday cleared the way for an NHS giveaway in the Autumn Budget as he signalled he could be ready to loosen the purse strings within months.

The medium-term forecasts were less upbeat, however, with the OBR predicting economic growth of 1.3% next year (unchanged from last November's forecast), 1.3% in 2020 (also unchanged), 1.4% in 2021 (down from 1.5%) and 1.5% in 2022 (down from 1.6%).

At the weekend Hammond said: "It has been a long road and there is still work to be done, but I am confident that there is light at the end of the tunnel".

The Chancellor told Cabinet that over the last two quarters, the United Kingdom has seen slightly stronger productivity growth, which he said was the key to higher wages.

Mr Hammond opened the door to possible increases in spending on public services such as health and defence in the Budget later in the year.

Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas tweeted: "Tories celebrate a tiny improvement in growth in today's #SpringStatement, but GDP isn't a real measure of our society".

And after the Chancellor compared Labour to gloomy cartoon character Eeyore and himself to the more optimistic Tigger, shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne joked that Mr Hammond was "talking Pooh".

"We are determined to create an environment that is fit for future generations".

He said: "Our economy will remain and open and outward-looking, confident to compete with the best in the world".

The chancellor said the latest estimates, which show public debt as a share of GDP falling for the next five years, showed the country was at a turning point, a decade on from the financial crisis.

But Yorkshire cities were invited to compete across England for £840m to improve transport.

Furthermore, the government has said that it is working with 44 areas which have submitted bids to the Housing Infrastructure fund, to make sure that only those homes that are needed are being built.

He accused Mr Hammond of not listening to teachers, doctors and nurses.

Hammond added the Treasury will today publish information about how the £1.5bn set aside for Brexit planning will be spent.

Hammond said the education secretary will release up to £80m to help small firms take on apprentices. Announced in the 2017 Autumn budget, new diesel cars have to meet the Real Driving Emissions limits for nitrogen oxide to stay within their current tax bands.

His speech will most likely begin at 12.30pm and last less than half hour.

But it would be wrong to say that the content and tone of the statement wasn't anticipated - the Spring Statement was expected to be a short affair with no significant policy announcements, which will be saved for November's Budget.

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