In his inaugural Autumn Statement speech, Chancellor Philip Hammond outlined a range of measures to support the economy as the UK prepares to face the challenges presented by the Brexit vote.
Mr Hammond stated that the result of the EU referendum ‘makes more urgent than ever the need to tackle our economy’s long-term weaknesses’.
He revealed that, as a result of the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s vote to leave the EU, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) have downgraded growth forecasts for 2017 from 2.2% to 1.4%.
The Chancellor stated that, while the OBR ‘cannot predict’ the terms of the deal the UK will strike with the EU, the rate of growth over the forecast period is 2.4% lower than it would have been if the UK had voted to remain in the Union.
The OBR anticipates borrowing to be £68.2 billion this year, falling to £59 billion in 2017.
Mr Hammond also revealed that the government are no longer seeking a budget surplus in 2019/20, but are committed to returning the public finances to balance ‘as soon as practicable’.
He stated: ‘A credible fiscal policy remains essential for maintaining market confidence and restoring the economy to long-term health.’