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Budget 2017: Hammond to 'seize opportunities' from Brexit

Budget 2017: Hammond to 'seize opportunities' from Brexit

Business
The UK must "seize the opportunities" from Brexit while tackling deep-seated economic challenges "head on", Philip Hammond is to say in his second Budget.The chancellor will promise investment to make Britain "fit for the future" as an "outward looking, free-trading nation" once it leaves the EU in 2019.But he will also commit to supporting hard-pressed families with the cost of living and address housing shortages.Labour say he should call time on austerity and boost public services.In his Commons speech, which will begin at about 12:30 GMT, Mr Hammond will set out proposed tax and spending changes.He will also update MPs on the current state of the economy, future growth projections and the health of the public finances.He has been under pressure in recent months from sections of his par...
Budget: Hammond faces spending dilemma, says IFS

Budget: Hammond faces spending dilemma, says IFS

Business
The chancellor is between "a rock and a hard place" for his forthcoming Budget on 22 November, a think tank says.Philip Hammond may have to abandon his target for getting rid of the deficit if he wants to increase spending on public services, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said.He is also facing a likely cut in the forecast for productivity growth, and uncertainty around Brexit, it said.The Treasury said it would continue to adopt a "balanced approach".Mr Hammond is to unveil his Budget on 22 November - the first since the general election.He has said he aims to eliminate the budget deficit - the difference between the government's everyday spending and the money it has coming in - by the middle of the next decade.He told the BBC last week: "We've already moved the target for balancing t...
Philip Hammond says his remarks were a poor choice of words

Philip Hammond says his remarks were a poor choice of words

Business
The chancellor has labelled the European Union's Brexit negotiators as "the enemy" - a remark he subsequently described as a "poor choice of words".During a television interview, Philip Hammond also called the negotiators "the opponents" and said they should "behave like grown-ups".But he tweeted later: "I was making the point that we are united at home. I regret I used a poor choice of words."Mr Hammond is in Washington for an International Monetary Fund meeting.He has been criticised for saying that the Brexit process has created uncertainty, and this week a former chancellor claimed he was trying to sabotage the talks.During a series of media interviews in Washington, Mr Hammond told Sky News that "passions are high" in the party "but we are all going to the same place".But he added: "T...
Philip Hammond and Liam Fox in post-Brexit deal call

Philip Hammond and Liam Fox in post-Brexit deal call

Business
The UK will need a transition period to help businesses adjust after Brexit, the chancellor and the international trade secretary have said. In a joint Sunday Telegraph article, Philip Hammond and Liam Fox stressed any deal would not be indefinite or a "back door" to staying in the EU.Their comments are being seen as an attempt to show unity between rival sides in Theresa May's cabinet.The Liberal Democrats said Mr Hammond had "been brought back in line"."What this is about is getting Philip Hammond back on track with a hard Brexit program," Tom Brake, the party's foreign affairs spokesman, said. "What we don't know from this letter is exactly how this is going to work. It's also not clear how long the transition period is going to be."The letter comes as ministers start to set out their d...
Philip Hammond: Public servants are paid 'premium'

Philip Hammond: Public servants are paid 'premium'

Business
Philip Hammond said public sector workers receive a 10% "premium" over the private sector, as he defended the government's pay policy.The chancellor told Andrew Marr, the figure was a "simple fact" once pension entitlement is taken into account.He would not comment on reports that he said public servants were "overpaid", adding that ministers should not be discussing private cabinet meetings.John McDonnell said Labour would end the 1% cap on pubic sector pay rises.The shadow chancellor said his party had set aside £4bn on an annual basis, to bring pay in line with inflation.Reality Check: Is public sector pay higher?Pay rises for most public sector workers are set by independent pay review bodies, but have effectively been capped at 1% each year since 2013.Before that, there was a two-year