- Philip Hammond said the government will “look forwards not backwards” after Brexit.
- The chancellor announced an extra £3 billion for Brexit contingency planning.
- He also announced changes to reform the universal credit system and the housebuilding programme in the UK.
- Stamp duty abolished for first time buyers of houses worth up to £300,000.
LONDON – Philip Hammond has announced an extra £3 billion is being set aside to help Britain cope with the challenges of Brexit.
The chancellor said there would be an extra £3 billion over the next 3 years for Brexit contingency planning and that the government is “determined to make sure that the country is prepared for every possible outcome.”
The Conservative government has been insistent that it expects to reach an exit deal with the EU but talks are yet to go beyond the first phase with little over a year to go until the EU Parliament is set to vote on an agreement.
Hammond told MPs that “the future is bright” as he attempted to overcome poor economic forecasts and uncertainty about Brexit in his Autumn Budget on Wednesday.
He said the future will be “full of new opportunities” and claimed the government will “look forwards not backwards” after the UK leaves the European Union in March, 2019.
However, he also revealed that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had cut GDP growth forecasts over the next five years.
The biggest announcements
In his speech, the chancellor announced £1.5 billion for addressing concerns over the Universal Credit benefits system.
Hammond also told MPs he was abolishing stamp duty for first time buyers of houses up to £300,000, in order to allow more young people to get onto the housing ladder.
The chancellor said that “this budget is about much more than Brexit,” and about the “technological revolution” that is coming.
He said: “Either we embrace the future, seize the opportunities that lie within our grasp and build on Britain’s great global success story. Or, as the party opposite advocates, reject change and turn inwards to the failed and irrelevant dogmas of the past.
“We have no doubts, we choose the future. We choose to run towards change not away from it, to prepare people for the challenges ahead.”
— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 22, 2017
A full breakdown of Hammond’s Budget:
Universal Credit will be altered by removing the seven day wait, making advances quicker and easier, making the repayment period longer, and allowing housing benefit to continue for two weeks.
The chancellor pledged £1.5 billion in order to allow these reforms to happen.
£3 billion to be set aside over the next three years to allow the UK to prepare for any outcome of Brexit, including no deal.
Health and social care
£2.8 billion in extra funding for the NHS in England, of which £350 million will be immediately be granted to address pressures this winter.
£10 billion capital investment fund for hospitals.
The aim of 300,000 new homes to be built each year, helped by £44 billion of capital funding, loans and guarantees.
£1.5 billion for the Home Builders Fund to help smaller building firms to build more houses.
Stamp duty abolished for first time buyers of houses worth up to £300,000.
Power to charge 100% council tax premium on empty properties to be given to local authorities.
£28 million given to Kensington and Chelsea Council for regeneration of areas around Grenfell Tower and to provide counselling services for survivors of the Grenfell fire.
Alcohol, tobacco, gambling and fuel
Alcohol duty on beer, wine, ciders and spirits has been frozen apart from high-strength “white ciders.”
Tax on tobacco will rise by 2% above inflation, as will the minimum excise duty on cigarettes.
Vehicle excise duty for diesel cars that do not meet the newest standards will rise by one band in 2017.
Extra taxes collected from diesel vehicles to contribute towards a £220 million for a clean air fund
£600 Maths Premium for schools, for every additional pupil who takes A level or Core maths, where schools will get a bonus for getting students to study maths post-GCSE.
£27 million in order to improve maths teaching in a further 3,000 schools by expanding the Teaching for Mastery of Maths programme.
A fully qualified GCSE computer science teacher in every secondary school.
Devolution and regions
An extra £2 billion for the Scottish government, £1.2 billion for the Welsh, £660 million for Northern Irish executives.
£1.7 billion transport fund for city regions of the UK.
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