You can read the full transcript of the Chancellor’s Spring Budget, or this summary of yesterday’s announcements below.
1. The economic forecast
Growth in the UK economy picked up through 2016. Employment has reached a record high of 31.8 million people.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) now forecasts that the UK economy will grow by two per cent in 2017. The OBR also forecast that the economy will grow at a slightly slower rate in 2018, before picking up to two per cent in 2021.
2. Cutting borrowing and stabilising the public finances
Britain has a debt of nearly £1.7 trillion – around £62,000 for every household in the country.
In 2009-10 the UK borrowed £1 in every £5 that was spent. This year it is set to be £1 in every £15.
Borrowing is forecast to be reduced by nearly three quarters by 2016-17.
3. £2 billion for adult social care over the next three years
This will help councils to provide high quality social care to more people and help to ease pressure on the NHS.
4. £425 million investment in the NHS in the next three years
£325 million will be invested in a first set of the best local Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs).
STPs are the NHS’s plans for improving patient services in local regions, developed collaboratively by NHS service leaders and their local partners.
£100 million will go to A&E departments in 2017-18, to help them manage demand ahead of next winter, and help patients get to primary care faster. For example, it will provide more on-site GP facilities and more space in A&E units for assessment of patients when they arrive.
5. Investment in technical education for 16 to 19 year olds rising to over £500 million
New T-levels for 16 to 19 year old technical students will be introduced from autumn 2019. Students will be able to choose from 15 different routes such as construction, digital or agriculture.
The number of hours of training for these students will increase by over 50 per cent. As part of the course, all students will take part in an industry work placement.
The government will also provide maintenance loans for students doing higher-level technical courses at National Colleges and Institutes of Technology – like those available to university students.
6. £300 million investment for new academic research placements
£90 million will provide 1,000 new PhD places, including in science, technology, engineering and maths.
£210 million will create new fellowships, including programmes to attract top global talent to conduct research in areas such as bioscience and biotechnology, quantum technologies, and satellite and space technology.
7. Loans for part time and doctoral students from 2018
The government will provide maintenance loans for people entering part time degrees, and doctoral loans of up to £25,000 to support higher-level study.
8. £536 million for new free schools and to maintain existing schools
£320 million will go to new free schools. Free schools are funded by the government but set up by groups like parents, charities or community and faith groups.
£216 million will be invested in school maintenance.
9. Free transport for children from poorer families who go to selective schools
Children aged 11 to 16 who get free school meals or whose parents are on the Maximum Working Tax Credit will get free transport to their closest selective school, if it is between two and 15 miles away from their home.
Children aged 8 to 16 are already entitled to free transport to their closest suitable school, if they live more than three miles away.
10. Tax-Free Childcare will soon be available to working parents
Tax-Free Childcare will provide up to £2,000 a year in childcare support for each child under 12.
Parents will be able to receive up to £4,000 for disabled children up to the age of 17.
Parents of younger children will be able to apply for the scheme first, with all eligible parents able to access the scheme by the end of the year.
Working parents in England will also be able to apply for an additional 15 hours of free childcare for three and four year olds, bringing the total to 30 hours a week.
11. New ways to protect consumers
The government will investigate ways to protect consumers from unnecessary costs and inefficiencies, including:
- preventing consumers being charged unexpectedly when a subscription is renewed or a free trial ends
- making terms & conditions simpler and clearer including in digital contracts, like when you sign up to a social network
- fining companies that mislead or mistreat consumer
Find out more here.