Spring Statement: Chancellor responds to latest OBR forecasts

13 March 2019

On Wednesday 13 March, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond will make his Spring Statement to the House of Commons. This update on the Government's assessment of the UK economy and budget will respond to the revised forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), also published today.

Along with the slowing of the global economy, Brexit uncertainty is likely to be a focus in both today's Statement and the OBR's forecasts. The Commons Library Briefing on the Spring Statement notes;

"Since the EU referendum result the OBR has assumed that the UK-EU negotiations “lead to an orderly transition to a new long-term relationship, whatever that relationship may be.” If the UK’s withdrawal is less than orderly, then the OBR’s outlook for the economy and public finances is likely to become more pessimistic".

The Chancellor is expected to begin the statement at approximately 12:30PM, after Prime Minister's Questions. He told MPs that:

"Last nights vote leaves a cloud of uncertainty hanging over our economy, and our most urgent task in this House is to lift that uncertainty."

He went on to refer to the UK economy as "remarkably robust" and praised the growth he stated had come under consecutive Conservative Governments. The Chancellor also spoke extensively about the importance of preparing the economy for climate change and stating that he wanted the Conservative Government to be the first in history to leave the environment better than they found it.

The statement was responded to by the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell, who argued that the Chancellor had seen a "pattern on downgraded forecasts". He warned against the high levels of household debt and blamed austerity for reduced life expectancy and increased infant mortality. 

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