This article is from the source 'guardian' and was first published or seen on . The next check for changes will be

You can find the current article at its original source at https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2018/mar/13/spring-statement-philip-hammond-growth-borrowing-brexit-live-updates

The article has changed 16 times. There is an RSS feed of changes available.

Version 11 Version 12
Spring statement: Brexit divorce bill estimated at £37.1bn - live updates Spring statement: Brexit divorce bill could be £37.1bn; 2p might be abolished - live updates
(35 minutes later)
Three years ago this week, George Osborne proudly announced a new Help To Buy ISA that would (he claimed) get first-time buyers scrambling onto the housing ladder.
Under the plan, the government would provide a £50 top-up for every £200 saved for a deposit on a home (up to a £12,000 deposit).
A classic pre-election vote-winner, you might think. However, it was later dubbed a ‘scandal’ after it emerged that the government wouldn’t actually chip in until the home had been bought.
And now, the OBR has slashed its forecasts for the cost of the scheme, as take-up has been much weaker than it expected.
The watchdog says:
The original costing estimated that cumulative Government expenditure would reach nearly £700m by the end of 2017-18. But take-up so far has been well below expectations and the total value of payments in the first 22 months of the scheme – to September 2017 – was just £104m.
We have revised down our forecast by a cumulative 23 per cent relative to our previous forecast. Compared to the original costing, cumulative spending is around 80 per cent (some £1.7bn) lower up to the end of 2019-20
This is from Sky’s economics editor Ed Conway.
It isn't so much that the UK is slumping. It's that every other major economy is accelerating, leaving the UK behind. Striking chart from the latest OBR report https://t.co/mxIcxRfe6q pic.twitter.com/vrHWMLUvSW
It has attracted this comment from Rupert Harrison, chief of staff to George Osborne when he was chancellor.
Great chart which captures the Brexit effect - no disaster but we have missed out on this latest global boom. The risk now is that (apart from the US which is absorbing a big fiscal boost) that global boom appears to be fading a little https://t.co/a9hNPwYqMQ
This is from the Press Association’s Ian Jones.
You have to go right back to 1875-1879 for the last time the UK economy grew by 1.5% or below for five years in a row. #SpringStatement
Here are some comments from opposition MPs on the spring statement. MPs were responding in the House of Commons.
From John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor:
I say to the chancellor: his complacency today is astounding.
We face – in every public service – a crisis on a scale we’ve never seen before.
Hasn’t he listened to the doctors and nurses, the teachers, the police officers, the carers and even his own councillors?
They are telling him they can’t wait for the next budget. They’re telling him to act now.
For eight years they’ve been ignored by this government. And today - they’ve been ignored again.
The chancellor has proclaimed that there is light at the end of the tunnel. But this shows just how cut off from the real world he is.
Last year growth in our economy was among the lowest in the G7 and the slowest since 2012.
Wages are lower now - in real terms - than they were in 2010 – and they’re still falling.
We face – in every public service – a crisis on a scale we’ve never seen before.
Hasn’t he listened to the doctors and nurses, the teachers, the police officers, the carers and even his own councillors?
They are telling him they can’t wait for the next budget. They’re telling him to act now.
From Ian Blackford, the SNP leader at Westminster:
The progress of this government in readying for Brexit has been nothing short of shameful.
The UK government’s own analysis tells us that under all scenarios, Scotland would suffer a relatively greater loss in economic output than the United Kingdom as a whole.
A no deal scenario would be significantly devastating, threatening to reduce growth by a massive 9% over 15 years.
Make no mistake that a hard Brexit is going to hit the pockets of families, is going to lead to a loss in tax revenue expectations. It’s therefore going to affect spending on public services, and yet the chancellor is silent on the risks to our economy.
From the Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable:
The spring statement was a non-event. The OECD [see 11.33am] gave us the clearer picture - that the economy is bumping along the bottom of the G20, well behind the likes of Australia, Canada and the euro area.
The OBR’s fresh forecasts are still a long way behind the figures estimated in March 2016 before the EU referendum.
It is time the government was honest with the public: there will need to be tax increases to pay for the NHS and social care, police and schools.
From the Green MP Caroline Lucas:
I have to say that the levels of hypocrisy from this government is quite extraordinary.
How can he pledge to be improving air quality while simultaneously boasting of undertaking the largest road building programme since the 1970s.
How can he say that the plastics crisis is urgent and then propose a deadline for the elimination of plastics in a quarter of a century’s time.
Where is the latte levy, where is the deposit scheme, where is the urgency from this action. Why is there such a gulf between government action and the words.
Nick Macpherson, former Permanent Secretary to the Treasury (the top civil servant), suggests Philip Hammond is right to keep his fiscal firepower in case the UK suffers an economic shock....
Sensible OBR forecast. Sensible statement by Mr Hammond. Good to see public debt could fall next year. Need headroom against future shocks.
Last year my collaegue Anushka Asthana revealed that, when George Osborne was chancellor, he came close to abolishing 1p and 2p coins. The idea was blocked by David Cameron, who thought the public would disapprove.
Now Philip Hammond has revived the idea. One of the 13 consultations he has published is on cash and digital payments, and the document (pdf) makes it clear that the Treasury increasingly thinks these coins are pointless. In a section of the consultation document leading up to the question “does the current denominational mix (eight coins and four banknotes) meet your current and future needs?”, the document says:
In the normal course of the cash cycle, many denominations fall out of circulation, for example, by being placed into savings jars. Surveys suggest that six in ten 1p and 2p coins are used in a transaction once before they leave the cash cycle. They are either saved, or in 8% of cases are thrown away. To meet demand created by such losses from circulation, in previous years the government and the Royal Mint have needed to produce and issue over 500 million 1p and 2p coins each year to replace those falling out of circulation.
The document also suggests that £50 notes could be abolished too.
At the other end of the denominational scale the £50 note is believed to be rarely used for routine purchases and is instead held as a store of value. There is a significant overseas demand for £50 notes, with the notes used for some transactions, but mainly held as a store of value alongside other currencies such as the dollar and euro. There is also a perception among some that £50 notes are used for money laundering, hidden economy activity, and tax evasion ...
Though the value of the £50 note is low compared to other countries’ highest denominations, in order to attempt to tackle the hidden economy and illegitimate use of cash, and maintain the integrity of the currency, some countries have removed their highest value notes from circulation or replaced them with banknotes with more security features.
Although the OBR are forecasting slow growth over the next five years, they certainly aren’t ruling out something worse.
The watchdog points out that there have been seven recessions over the last 61 years, suggesting that there’s a 50:50 risk of one in the next five years.
Thus,
...the probability of a cyclical shock occurring sometime over our forecast horizon is fairly high.
The OBR also reminds us that neither the Treasury or the City actually forecast the great recession after the 2008 financial crisis:
As regards this final risk of an unexpected recession, it is salutary to remember that exactly 10 years ago – at the spring Budget of March 2008 – the Treasury forecast that the economy would grow by a cumulative 4 per cent in calendar years 2008 and 2009, whereas the latest outturn data show a drop of 4.6 per cent.
As Chart 3.30 shows, only one of the 34 outside forecasters reporting their forecasts to the Treasury at the time predicted that real GDP would decline in either 2008 or 2009. In the Treasury’s latest survey, none of the 40 respondents expect real GDP to decline in either 2018 or 2019.
Although the growth forecast for 2018 has been marginally revised upwards, the IFS’s Paul Johnson says, overall, the picture is still dreadful.Although the growth forecast for 2018 has been marginally revised upwards, the IFS’s Paul Johnson says, overall, the picture is still dreadful.
Not that much to be Tiggerish about here. Growth forecasts dreadful compared with what we thought in March 2016, dreadful by historical standards and dreadful compared with most of the rest of the world. https://t.co/qw1tZ9zy5WNot that much to be Tiggerish about here. Growth forecasts dreadful compared with what we thought in March 2016, dreadful by historical standards and dreadful compared with most of the rest of the world. https://t.co/qw1tZ9zy5W
This chart illustrates one of his points.This chart illustrates one of his points.
Growth outlook much weaker than 2 years ago #SpringStatement @ESRC pic.twitter.com/J1RHB5YLc5Growth outlook much weaker than 2 years ago #SpringStatement @ESRC pic.twitter.com/J1RHB5YLc5
UPDATE: Paul Johnson’s tweet has been retweeted by George Osborne. Osborne likes Philip Hammond, and so he probably retweeted it because he thought it reflected badly on Brexit, not on his successor.
The OBR says the amount of money the government is expected to raise from the soft drinks levy - a tax on sugar in drinks coming into force this year - has halved. It says in its report:The OBR says the amount of money the government is expected to raise from the soft drinks levy - a tax on sugar in drinks coming into force this year - has halved. It says in its report:
We have once again revised down receipts from the soft drinks industry levy, which comes into effect in April. The latest revision averages £30 million a year and reflects the latest information on reformulation rates. We now expect the levy to raise around £240 million a year on average from 2018-19 onwards, less than half the government’s target of £500 million in 2019-20 when it announced it in March 2016.We have once again revised down receipts from the soft drinks industry levy, which comes into effect in April. The latest revision averages £30 million a year and reflects the latest information on reformulation rates. We now expect the levy to raise around £240 million a year on average from 2018-19 onwards, less than half the government’s target of £500 million in 2019-20 when it announced it in March 2016.
The Treasury said this was a good thing because it showed that manufacturers have cut the amount of sugar in their drinks. A spokesman said:The Treasury said this was a good thing because it showed that manufacturers have cut the amount of sugar in their drinks. A spokesman said:
This levy is about changing behaviour. It’s about making people healthier overall. It’s really positive that the industry has recognised this and engaged so much on this.This levy is about changing behaviour. It’s about making people healthier overall. It’s really positive that the industry has recognised this and engaged so much on this.
As the Press Association reports, from next month, the most sugary soft drinks - those with more than 8g of sugar per 100ml - are to be taxed at 24p per litre, while those with 5g of sugar per 100ml will pay 18p.As the Press Association reports, from next month, the most sugary soft drinks - those with more than 8g of sugar per 100ml - are to be taxed at 24p per litre, while those with 5g of sugar per 100ml will pay 18p.
City economists are giving their verdicts on today’s forecasts, and some are pretty gloomy....City economists are giving their verdicts on today’s forecasts, and some are pretty gloomy....
Aberdeen Standard Investments chief economist Lucy O’Carroll says Britain faces ‘a decade of austerity’ at least.Aberdeen Standard Investments chief economist Lucy O’Carroll says Britain faces ‘a decade of austerity’ at least.
“The Chancellor was always clear that today’s event was to be a modest one, and he kept that promise. But there is little to cheer by way of economic progress. A woeful growth outlook by past standards. Potentially massive dislocation for the economy just around the corner. And all subject to huge, Brexit-related uncertainties.“The Chancellor was always clear that today’s event was to be a modest one, and he kept that promise. But there is little to cheer by way of economic progress. A woeful growth outlook by past standards. Potentially massive dislocation for the economy just around the corner. And all subject to huge, Brexit-related uncertainties.
“Mr Hammond was keen to push a message about there being light at the end of the tunnel. It’s true that the country’s debt burden is about to fall. It’s also true that for the first time since the financial crisis the UK is borrowing only to invest, rather than to fund day-to-day spending.“Mr Hammond was keen to push a message about there being light at the end of the tunnel. It’s true that the country’s debt burden is about to fall. It’s also true that for the first time since the financial crisis the UK is borrowing only to invest, rather than to fund day-to-day spending.
“But the Chancellor has made it clear that we’ll remain in the tunnel for a while yet: there will be no fundamental reassessment of the UK’s spending needs until 2020. That will mean, in effect, a decade of austerity – unprecedented in the post-war period.“But the Chancellor has made it clear that we’ll remain in the tunnel for a while yet: there will be no fundamental reassessment of the UK’s spending needs until 2020. That will mean, in effect, a decade of austerity – unprecedented in the post-war period.
Hetal Mehta, senior european economist at Legal & General Investment Management, agrees that Hammond probably won’t relax the purse strings later this yearHetal Mehta, senior european economist at Legal & General Investment Management, agrees that Hammond probably won’t relax the purse strings later this year
“After significant downgrades to growth and upward revisions to borrowing requirements just in November, the Office for Budget Responsibility has now revised up growth (for the near term) and taken down the borrowing forecasts over the next 5 years.“After significant downgrades to growth and upward revisions to borrowing requirements just in November, the Office for Budget Responsibility has now revised up growth (for the near term) and taken down the borrowing forecasts over the next 5 years.
“That said we don’t expect Hammond to go on a spending splurge in the Autumn Budget. He will likely save the extra room for manoeuvre ahead of the next election and to cushion any downside risks emerging from the UK’s departure from the EU.”“That said we don’t expect Hammond to go on a spending splurge in the Autumn Budget. He will likely save the extra room for manoeuvre ahead of the next election and to cushion any downside risks emerging from the UK’s departure from the EU.”
Jonathan Riley, head of tax at Grant Thornton UK, says Hammond’s attempts to rebrand himself as a bouncy Tigger have a flaw....Jonathan Riley, head of tax at Grant Thornton UK, says Hammond’s attempts to rebrand himself as a bouncy Tigger have a flaw....
“Today was upbeat, but by the autumn we will know whether we have a Brexit deal or whether the UK will be moving straight to World Trade Organisation rules. So while Philip Hammond was the only one at the government despatch box today, the donkey in the room, the Eeyore, is still Brexit.”“Today was upbeat, but by the autumn we will know whether we have a Brexit deal or whether the UK will be moving straight to World Trade Organisation rules. So while Philip Hammond was the only one at the government despatch box today, the donkey in the room, the Eeyore, is still Brexit.”
Sky News’s Faisal Islam and the New Statesman’s George Eaton are both unimpressed by today’s growth forecasts (with good reason!)Sky News’s Faisal Islam and the New Statesman’s George Eaton are both unimpressed by today’s growth forecasts (with good reason!)
Since the war there’s never been 5 consecutive years of GDP growth of 1.5% or below, as forecast today by OBR pic.twitter.com/5FHRCJJuy2Since the war there’s never been 5 consecutive years of GDP growth of 1.5% or below, as forecast today by OBR pic.twitter.com/5FHRCJJuy2
For the first time in modern history, UK GDP growth is still expected to fall below 2% in every forecast year (from now to 2022). #SpringStatementFor the first time in modern history, UK GDP growth is still expected to fall below 2% in every forecast year (from now to 2022). #SpringStatement
As the Resolution Foundation’s Adam Corlett points out with this graph, the OBR now thinks that the output gap is positive. That means there is no spare capacity - in fact, the oppositeAs the Resolution Foundation’s Adam Corlett points out with this graph, the OBR now thinks that the output gap is positive. That means there is no spare capacity - in fact, the opposite
The OBR thinks the economy is now slightly above potential, for the first time since 2007-08. But that's not necessarily a good thing... pic.twitter.com/XwM8Vpa9mDThe OBR thinks the economy is now slightly above potential, for the first time since 2007-08. But that's not necessarily a good thing... pic.twitter.com/XwM8Vpa9mD
And here is the Resolution Foundation’s Torsten Bell commenting on what this means.And here is the Resolution Foundation’s Torsten Bell commenting on what this means.
This means that despite almost no-one feeling like Britain's economy is going gangbusters, the @OBR_UK thinks we are actually outperforming what we can sustainably produce - that's the real pessimism underlying today's grim forecasts https://t.co/JF35t9HaE2This means that despite almost no-one feeling like Britain's economy is going gangbusters, the @OBR_UK thinks we are actually outperforming what we can sustainably produce - that's the real pessimism underlying today's grim forecasts https://t.co/JF35t9HaE2
In its analysis of the EU financial settlement (pdf) the OBR points out that, even though the government will stop making full contributions to the EU after Brexit, the government has committed to spend money on items that used to get funding through EU membership. In paragraph B.45 it puts figures on these commitments.In its analysis of the EU financial settlement (pdf) the OBR points out that, even though the government will stop making full contributions to the EU after Brexit, the government has committed to spend money on items that used to get funding through EU membership. In paragraph B.45 it puts figures on these commitments.
Farm support - around £3bn a yearFarm support - around £3bn a year
Shared prosperity fund (a proposed fund to replace EU structural funds, which fund projects in deprived areas) - around £1bn a yearShared prosperity fund (a proposed fund to replace EU structural funds, which fund projects in deprived areas) - around £1bn a year
Overseas development assistance (putting money that went into the EU’s aid budget into the UK’s aid budget instead) - around £1bn a yearOverseas development assistance (putting money that went into the EU’s aid budget into the UK’s aid budget instead) - around £1bn a year
Science and education (contributions to allow the UK to continue participating in programmes like Erasmus, Creative Europe and Horizon 2020) - around 2bn a yearScience and education (contributions to allow the UK to continue participating in programmes like Erasmus, Creative Europe and Horizon 2020) - around 2bn a year
Regulatory agencies (participating in various EU agencies) - around £40m a year.Regulatory agencies (participating in various EU agencies) - around £40m a year.
This chart compares how much the UK has been contributing to the EU (the light blue bars), with the amount it will pay after Brexit as part of the “divorce bill” (the dark blue bars) and the money it will spend on items that used to be funded by the EU (the yellow bars).This chart compares how much the UK has been contributing to the EU (the light blue bars), with the amount it will pay after Brexit as part of the “divorce bill” (the dark blue bars) and the money it will spend on items that used to be funded by the EU (the yellow bars).
The black diamonds also represent the “no referendum counterfactual” - what the UK would have spent if it had carried on in the EU. If the UK does go ahead with the “assumed spending in lieu of EU transfers” assumed by the OBR, there is no saving at all.The black diamonds also represent the “no referendum counterfactual” - what the UK would have spent if it had carried on in the EU. If the UK does go ahead with the “assumed spending in lieu of EU transfers” assumed by the OBR, there is no saving at all.
This does imply that the Vote Leave “£350m per week for the NHS” may be a long time coming ...This does imply that the Vote Leave “£350m per week for the NHS” may be a long time coming ...
More detail of the OBR’s Brexit bill estimate:More detail of the OBR’s Brexit bill estimate:
The most detailed breakdown of the Brexit divorce bill so far. Brussels pension liabilities will last to 2064, when we’ll still owe £500m. pic.twitter.com/qjhCcVrE5RThe most detailed breakdown of the Brexit divorce bill so far. Brussels pension liabilities will last to 2064, when we’ll still owe £500m. pic.twitter.com/qjhCcVrE5R
Economics professor Jonathan Portes has dug into the OBR’s ‘Brexit bill’ work:Economics professor Jonathan Portes has dug into the OBR’s ‘Brexit bill’ work:
The Brexit dividend at last? OBR says Brexit will free up £3 billion a year by 2021-22, more thereafter, after taking account of "divorce bill"... https://t.co/RUh9cBo8V7 pic.twitter.com/cXDRAs7ToOThe Brexit dividend at last? OBR says Brexit will free up £3 billion a year by 2021-22, more thereafter, after taking account of "divorce bill"... https://t.co/RUh9cBo8V7 pic.twitter.com/cXDRAs7ToO
..but goes on to point out that it expect this to be more than offset by the negative impacts of lower immigration, productivity, etc, so the overall impact on public finances will be negative. pic.twitter.com/RWxRaQB6uC..but goes on to point out that it expect this to be more than offset by the negative impacts of lower immigration, productivity, etc, so the overall impact on public finances will be negative. pic.twitter.com/RWxRaQB6uC
The Office for Budget Responsibility has estimated that Britain’s financial settlement with the EU will cost £37.1bn.The Office for Budget Responsibility has estimated that Britain’s financial settlement with the EU will cost £37.1bn.
This figure is based on the ‘phase 1’ agreement which the UK agreed with member states last December, and is contained in an appendix to the OBR’s latest forecasts.This figure is based on the ‘phase 1’ agreement which the UK agreed with member states last December, and is contained in an appendix to the OBR’s latest forecasts.
Almost half this bill relates to Britain’s commitments under the current EU budget (the multiannual financial framework or MFF) that ends in December 2020.Almost half this bill relates to Britain’s commitments under the current EU budget (the multiannual financial framework or MFF) that ends in December 2020.
Around half is due to meeting Britain’s share of outstanding payments at the end of the current MFF (known as the “reste à liquider” or RAL). The remaining small fraction reflects pension liabilities less assets returned to the UK, the OBR says.Around half is due to meeting Britain’s share of outstanding payments at the end of the current MFF (known as the “reste à liquider” or RAL). The remaining small fraction reflects pension liabilities less assets returned to the UK, the OBR says.
Most of the bill falls in the next few years, but the final cost drags on until the 2060s ...Most of the bill falls in the next few years, but the final cost drags on until the 2060s ...
This falls smack in the middle of the Treasury’s own forecasts, which put the divorce bill at between £35bn and £39bn.This falls smack in the middle of the Treasury’s own forecasts, which put the divorce bill at between £35bn and £39bn.
The OBR also warns that it is “impossible” to quantify the full effect of Brexit on the public finances today:The OBR also warns that it is “impossible” to quantify the full effect of Brexit on the public finances today:
One of the more direct and readily quantifiable ways that Brexit will affect the public finances is by reducing or stopping the UK’s contributions to the EU budget. But, soon after the referendum, the chancellor guaranteed funding for certain EU projects after the UK leaves the EU (eg in agriculture, science and structural fund projects), subject to various conditions.One of the more direct and readily quantifiable ways that Brexit will affect the public finances is by reducing or stopping the UK’s contributions to the EU budget. But, soon after the referendum, the chancellor guaranteed funding for certain EU projects after the UK leaves the EU (eg in agriculture, science and structural fund projects), subject to various conditions.
And the prime minister has subsequently stated that the UK may continue to make contributions where it wishes to participate in some European programmes.And the prime minister has subsequently stated that the UK may continue to make contributions where it wishes to participate in some European programmes.
The government has not yet fully articulated its intentions in this area and, even if it had, the precise post-Brexit outcome remains subject to negotiation.The government has not yet fully articulated its intentions in this area and, even if it had, the precise post-Brexit outcome remains subject to negotiation.
The Treasury has published its spring statement documents on its website.
It has published 13 consultation documents - all available here.
Here is the Treasury’s own summary of what is in the autumn statement.
Here is the Treasury paper on corporate tax and the digital economy (pdf).
And here are are the preliminary findings of the Oliver Letwin review into planning and housing (pdf).
The Treasury has not published a red book, but the Office for Budget Responsibility has published its latest economic and fiscal outlook report. It runs to 243 pages and it is here (pdf).
The Office for Budget Responsibility has released its verdict on the UK economy.
And it points out that Britain’s economy isn’t in a much better place than four months ago, when the last budget was released.
The OBR says:
The economy has slightly more momentum in the near term, thanks to the unexpected strength of the world economy, but there seems little reason to change our view of its medium-term growth potential. And while the budget deficit looks likely to come in almost £5bn lower this year than we expected in November, the explanations for this imply smaller downward revisions for future years. As a result, the government’s headroom against its fiscal targets is virtually unchanged.
On Brexit, the fiscal watchdog says there’s been less damage than feared:
The vote to leave the European Union appears to have slowed the economy, but by less than we expected immediately after the referendum – thanks in part to the willingness of consumers to maintain spending by reducing their saving. But it is important not to put too much weight on early estimates of economic activity either side of the referendum, not least because the bottom-up measures of GDP growth in the national accounts differ as to whether growth slowed down, speeded up or remained stable between 2016 and 2017.
And on productivity, the OBR warns that recent improvements may not last.
The biggest surprise in the economic data released since November is that productivity growth – measured as output per hour – has been much stronger than expected. But that reflects a much weaker path for average hours worked, rather than stronger output or weaker employment growth.
The fall in average hours over the second half of 2017 is the largest since mid-2011 and second largest since the financial crisis. But in 2011 the fall in hours and associated pick-up in productivity growth proved to be erratic and were soon reversed. We assume for now that the same will be true on this occasion.
More from the IFS’s Paul Johnson:
Crucial OBR judgment: they believe the economy is running 0.3% above potential - despite years of poor growth economy in danger of over heating. One reason why better borrowing figures this year don't translate into better figures in medium term.
McDonnell says today’s statement could have been a turning point. But it is a missed opportunity.
The Conservatives chose to cut budgets for the super-rich, he says.
He says we were never all in this together.
He says today we have had the “indefensible spectacle” of the chancellor congratulating himself on marginally improved forecasts, while refusing to help councils.
McDonnell says asking NHS workers to give up a day’s holiday (reportedly a government proposals as part of the pay negotiations) is mean-spirited.
And he says the government is today trying to get MPs to vote to take away free school meals from 1 million pupils.
(That’s a reference to one of the votes coming up this afternoon on statutory instruments. The government contests McDonnell’s interpretation. There is a briefing on the issue here.)
John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, is responding to Hammond.
He says Hammond’s complacency is “astounding”. Public service workers like doctors and nurses need Hammond to act now.
Hammond says there is light at the end of the tunnel. That shows how cut off he is, McDonnell says.
He says this is a government that single-handedly destroyed the solar panel industry.
Hammond talks about the fourth industrial revolution, but Britain has the lowest rate of industrial robot use in the OED.
He says Tory MPs can shout all they want, but people out there know the crisis in our communities.
Hammond makes great play of reducing debt. But he has put £700m on the national debt, he says.
He says the Tories said the deficit would be eliminated by 2015.
George Osborne has been tweeting about achieving three years late a deficit target Osborne actually abandoned.
More details of the plastic waste consultation:
On environmental issues Philip Hammond says the Government is making a call for evidence on single use plastics, the supply chain, alternatives and recycling opportunities #SpringStatement
Chancellor @PhilipHammondUK calls for evidence to tackle single-use #plastic waste. #SpringStatement pic.twitter.com/J9nDSr1uzf
Hammond says Treasury launching a “call for evidence” to look at options on reducing single use plastics - including taxes. Shout from Labour benches of “get on with it!”
Hammond is now winding up, saying he wants the UK to be a force for good, and a country everyone can be proud of.
Hammond says he will publish a call for evidence on whether the tax relief for agricultural diesel contributes to air pollution.
And he will consult on tax cuts for low-emission vans.
And he will consult on what can be done to reduce the use of plastics.
This is not intended to raise revenue; it is about changing behaviour.
Revenue raised will be invested in remedies.
And he is committing £20m now to help universities deliver solutions.
Hammond announces consultation on using tax increases to reduce plastic use, with £20m set aside now to help universities develop solutions.