United Kingdom economy to grow slightly more quickly, Hammond predicts

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The chancellor will reveal figures from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility on the state of the nation's finances and economic performance.

Borrowing is now forecast to be 45.2 billion pounds this year, 4.7 billion pounds lower than forecast in November.

"Today's brief address will likely see the first full analysis of Brexit's impact on United Kingdom public finances, good news in terms of lower public borrowing and economic growth higher (but not necessarily an end to austerity), as well as announcement of a range of consultations on issues such as tax for small businesses, inheritance tax for individuals and a levy on "single use" plastics", said Accendo Markets analysts Mike van Dulken & Henry Croft.

While No 10 has publicly maintained the service has what it needs, one senior minister told Kuenssberg "we all accept" more cash is needed, while another said "it's hard to see" how current funding levels could remain.

He said that the OBR is projecting headroom for the Government of £15.4bn in 2021 versus his 2 per cent of overall GDP borrowing target.

He has said he wants to make the November budget statement Britain's main fiscal event, giving up the chance seized by some previous British finance ministers of dominating the headlines with new policy announcements twice a year.

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

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"But we are still in the tunnel at the moment".

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell responded to the statement by saying Hammond's "complacency is astounding".

Hammond said real wage growth was expected to run positive from the first quarter of 2018/19, and would be "steady thereafter".

"He needs to listen to the calls from across the political spectrum, including the Tory council leader in his own constituency - to end the financial crisis in our public sector".

Mr Hammond also announced a call for evidence where the least productive businesses will learn from the most productive, as well as looking at measures to end late payments.

Tory Brexiteer John Redwood has also argued that the chancellor can afford to borrow to invest in schools, defence and the NHS, and "start to think about how we spend that Brexit bonus that comes as soon as we stop sending so much money to the European Union as contributions".