Full transcript of Philip Hammond’s Spring Budget 2017 speech

Full transcript of Philip Hammond’s Spring Budget 2017 speech

Full transcript of the Spring Budget 2017 speech by chancellor Philip Hammond on 8 March.

Mr Deputy Speaker,

I report today on an economy that has continued to confound the commentators with robust growth.

A labour market delivering record employment.

And a deficit down by over two-thirds.

As we start our negotiations to exit the European Union, this Budget takes forward our plan to prepare Britain for a brighter future.

It provides a strong and stable platform for those negotiations.

It extends opportunity to all our young people.

It delivers further investment in our public services.

And it continues the task of getting Britain back to living within its means.

We are building the foundations of a stronger, fairer, more global Britain.

Mr Deputy Speaker,

As the House knows, this will be the last Spring Budget.

The Treasury has helpfully reminded me that I am not the first Chancellor to announce the “last spring Budget”

Twenty four-years ago Norman Lamont also presented what was billed then as “the last Spring Budget”.

He reported on an economy that was growing faster than any other in the G7, and he committed to continued restraint in public spending.

The then Prime Minister described it as the “right budget, at the right time, from the right Chancellor”.

What they failed to remind me was…ten weeks later, he was sacked!

So wish me luck!

Mr Deputy Speaker,

Last year, the British economy grew faster than the United States, faster than Japan, faster than France.

Indeed amongst the major advanced economies Britain’s growth in 2016 was second only to Germany.

Employment is at a record high. Unemployment is at an 11 year low, with over 2.7 million more people enjoying the security and dignity of work than in 2010.

A far cry from the 3 million unemployed predicted.

And I am pleased to report, on International Women’s Day, that there is now a higher proportion of women in work than ever before.

But, Mr Deputy Speaker, there is no room for complacency.

As we prepare for our future outside the EU, we cannot rest on our past achievements.

We must focus relentlessly on keeping Britain at the cutting edge of the global economy. The deficit is down, but debt is still too high.

Employment is up, but productivity remains stubbornly low.

Too many of our young people are leaving formal education without the skills they need for today’s labour market.

And too many families are still feeling the squeeze, almost a decade after the crash.

So our job is not done.

And our task today is to take the next steps in preparing Britain for a global future.

To equip our young people with the skills they need.

To support our public services.

And to help ordinary working families as we build an economy that works for everyone.

Mr Deputy Speaker,

I thank the OBR under Robert Chote for their report

And let me also take the opportunity to thank my RHF the Chief Secretary and my ministerial team who are the unsung heroes of the Budget.

Doing much of the heavy lifting over the last few weeks, and of course, my excellent PPS, my RHF the Member for Salisbury.

I turn now to the OBR forecasts.

This is the spreadsheet bit.

I’ve got a reputation to uphold.

The OBR forecast the level of GDP in 2021 to be broadly the same as at Autumn Statement.

However, the path by which we get there has changed.

Reflecting the recent strength in the economy, the OBR has upgraded its forecast for growth this year from 1.4 per cent to 2 per cent.

In 2018 growth is forecast to slow to 1.6 per cent, before picking up to 1.7 per cent, then 1.9 per cent, and back to 2 per cent in 2021.

Resilience in the economy is reflected in a strong labour market.

Since 2010, the employment rate has risen from 70.2 per cent to 74.6 per cent, with positive news for all parts of our United Kingdom.

Unemployment has fallen fastest in Yorkshire and the Humber, and Wales.

Wages have grown fastest in Northern Ireland.

And productivity has grown fastest in Scotland and the North East.

And this positive trend is set to continue over the forecast period.

The number of people in employment is set to grow in every year, with a further two-thirds of a million people in work by 2021.

The OBR forecast inflation at 2.4 per cent this year. Then 2.3 per cent next year and 2 per cent in 2019.

And most importantly, Mr Deputy Speaker, despite higher-than-target inflation, real wages continue to rise in every year of the forecast.

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