UK government spending plans to be outlined in first Autumn Statement since Brexit

UK Chancellor Phillip Hammond will outline government spending plans this Wednesday in his first Autumn Statement to Parliament since the Brexit vote.

Hammond told the BBC ahead of his Autumn Statement that the economy faces “a larger degree of uncertainty than usual”.

Philip Hammond
Philip Hammond will deliver his Autumn Statement amid gloomy growth forecasts.

“Over the next couple of years we are going to face some uncertainty over the economy,” Hammond said.

The UK has an “eye-wateringly large debt” and faces a “sharp challenge” ahead.

The Financial Times said in a report that Britain could face a £100 billion bill for Brexit within the next five years because of lower-than-expected investment and slower growth which will hit tax revenues.

The Office for Budget Responsibility already believes that it is “very unlikely” for the UK to reach the 2016-17 Budget forecast.

Because of high levels of public debt it is unlikely that Hammond will announce a significant boost in public spending.

However, he has pledged to help “just about managing” families by freeing up money to help those on modest incomes, in line with promises by Prime Minister Theresa May.

Mr Hammond said the support people “who work hard and by and large do not feel that they are sharing in the prosperity that economic growth is bringing to the country”.

A ‘watertight’ economy to deal with any challenges over the next couple of years

“We have to maintain our credibility – we have eye-wateringly large debt, we still have a significant deficit in this country and we have to prepare the economy for the period that lies ahead,” Hammond said.

Adding: “I want to make sure that the economy is watertight, that we have enough headroom to deal with any unexpected challenges over the next couple of years and most importantly, that we’re ready to seize the opportunities of leaving the European Union.”