Is austerity ending?

Is austerity ending?

If you missed it, the Chancellor will now deliver his Budget in the Autumn. So, at lunchtime on 13 March, Rt Hon Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered his first Spring Statement. Cue metaphors for growth and spring.

As you know at Incuhub, we’re focused on investing in growing and aspirational businesses, so we took a keen interest in the outcomes orated.

The good news, certainly outwardly, the performance of the UK economically is positive! That’s where the main headlines were with the expectations of economic growth of the country being raised upwards. There were also glimpses that austerity could be coming to an end. The main highlights:
• Together with the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the Chancellor forecast 1.5% growth for 2018 the economy, which is an increase on previous estimation of 1.4%.
• In turn, 2019 growth is forecast to be 1.3%, and then marginal growth thereafter. But growth, nonetheless!
• Forecast for borrowing of £45.2bn in 2017-18, is revised down from £49.9bn.
• Housing came into focus too. £1.67bn will be distributed throughout London to assist the identification of areas and construction of 27,000 affordable homes over the next 5 years
• The National Living Wage will rise to £7.83 an hour in April 2018.
• Quite rightly, the disposal of plastic is in sharp focus currently. Therefore, the Chancellor has announced £20m to research ways to reduce environmental damage from plastic waste.
• Business rates will be re-evaluated in 2021
• Added investment – £95m – will be provided to assist full rollout of full-fibre broadband

There were the announcements of plenty of consultation to investigate the feasibility of a number of things. Tax credits were included here, as was the direction of cash in our society – one of the key questions asked here will be “will we need 1p and 2p’s in future?”. Consultations were also announced on ensuring VAT was collected on online sales and extending current training tax relief to self-employed people and employees.

In our opinion, there were many things to recognise in this Statement that should be applauded. Despite the backdrop and the chaos of the Brexit negotiations and possible trade deals, UK economic growth has been revised upwards. There’s also key investments being made, investigations are being made into making working lives easier and the rhetoric was generally upbeat.

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