Spring Statement: Chancellor unveils consultation on plastic tax


At the Autumn Statement the OBR predicted public sector net borrowing of £49.9bn for the 2017-18 fiscal year, significantly lower than the £58.3bn borrowing for the year to April expected only a year ago.

The UK's economic growth forecasts have been revised up from 1.4% to 1.5% in 2018, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in the first ever Spring Statement today.

Philip Hammond to present his Spring Statement - so what's in it?

In response, shadow chancellor John McDonnell told MPs "we face, in every public service, a crisis on a scale we have never seen before".

Lower than expected borrowing and higher than predicted GDP growth previous year will bring a note of optimism, but Philip Hammond has already suggested it is too early to take his foot off the austerity brake.

He also said the Department for Education would release up to £80 million to help small businesses with the apprenticeship levy.

Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered a pared-down spring statement on Tuesday which said the United Kingdom economy is faring better than predicted.

The chancellor also announced a series of consultations, including a call for evidence on cracking down on plastic waste; and research by the Office for National Statistics into how to better measure human capital.

On housing, he said there is an investment programme of £44bn.

But wait. isn't Hammond forgetting the looming economic disaster of Brexit?

In November, the GDP growth forecast for the next five years, up to and including 2022, was 1.4%, 1.3%, 1.3%, 1.5% and 1.6% respectively.

The Chancellor talked up "substantial progress" on the Brexit talks so far and said he looks forward to "another important step forward next week at the European Council", when negotiating teams meet.

The OBR expects inflation to fall from its peak of 3% to the Bank of England's 2% over the next 12 months.

Instead, Hammond unveiled the latest economic forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility which show how the United Kingdom economy is performing.

The new forecasts for net borrowing as a percentage of GDP are 1.8% for 2018/19, 1.6% for 2019/20, 1.3% for 2020/21, 1.1% for 2021/22 and 0.9% for 2022/23.

Debt is forecast to be 1% lower than expected at the time of last autumn's Budget, peaking at 85.6% of GDP in 2017/18, before falling gradually to 77.9% in 2022/23.

Hammond's Treasury deputy Liz Truss said there would be "no red box, no rabbits out of the hat and no tax changes".

There is also going to be a review of a possible tax on single use plastic.