Budget 

Hammond claims austerity is coming to an end

Hammond claims austerity is coming to an end

Chancellor Philip Hammond has said "the era of austerity is finally coming to an end", after announcing higher growth forecasts and lower borrowing and debt in his Autumn Budget.

In the final budget before the Brexit deadline, Mr Hammond outlined a number of measures that he said will continue to deliver "an economy working for everyone."

He announced the UK is set for resilient growth with the Office for Budget Responsibility revising up its forecast for GDP in 2019 by 0.3 per cent to 1.6 per cent.

Revisions for 2020 and 2021 have both been increased to 1.4 per cent.

This is in addition to a brighter outlook for the borrowing forecast, which is predicted to be £11.6bn lower than announced in the Spring Statement.

The forecast figure of £31.8bn in 2019 to 2020 is anticipated to fall to £26.7bn in 2020 to 2021, £23.8bn in 2021 to 2022, £20.8bn in 2022 to 2023 and £19.8bn in 2023 2024.

Mr Hammond also said fiscal targets are three years ahead of schedule.

Debt as a share of GDP is set to follow a similar trajectory.

It is expected to fall by 0.9 per cent to 82.8 per cent in 2019 to 2020, to 79.7 per cent in 2020 to 2021, 75.7 per cent in 2021 to 2022, 75 per cent in 2022 to 2023 and 74.1 per cent the following year.

Elsewhere, after suggesting that the government is "confident by not complacent," the chancellor has boosted financial resources to government departments to the tune of £500m to aid the UK's departure from the European Union.

This is in addition to the £2.2bn allocated to this year, and £1.5bn for next.

The chancellor also mooted the possibility of upgrading next year's Spring Statement to a "full fiscal event," should Brexit preparations fail to reach the desired outcome.

craig.rickman@ft.com

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