Hammond talks up United Kingdom economy despite Brexit 'cloud'

Hammond talks up United Kingdom economy despite Brexit 'cloud'

Hammond talks up United Kingdom economy despite Brexit 'cloud'

Johnson stated that the Spring Statement was inadequate given the great challenges at hand, and that concrete proposals for funding needed to arrive quickly.

British Prime Minister Theresa May stressed on Tuesday that parliament's approval of the withdrawal agreement she has reached with Brussels will deliver a fiscal "Brexit dividend".

The OBR forecast growth of 1.2% this year, 1.4% next year and 1.6% in the following three years.

"Leaving with no deal would mean significant disruption in the short and medium term and a smaller, less prosperous economy in the long term, than if we leave with a deal", Hammond told parliament, warning of higher unemployment and prices and lower wages under a no-deal Brexit.

He said that it was "disappointing" that the chancellor had missed the opportunity to provide desperately-needed funding for local services, and added that Brexit can not be a distraction from the challenges facing our public services.

But there was little of relevance to Northern Ireland in the budget yesterday though Mr Hammond said that negotiations for a City Deal for Londonderry were progressing.

The chancellor unveiled a lower growth forecast for 2019, cut to 1.2% from 1.6%.

Its efforts will be helped by extra money if it keeps to a budget deficit below two per cent of gross domestic product in 2020-2021, the Office of Budget Responsibility, which the government tasks with reviewing its budgets, said late yesterday.

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It echoed last month's sentiments from the Bank of England, which warned Brexit uncertainty is set to see growth slump to its lowest level for 10 years in 2019.

Speaking at the Institute for Government, OBR chairman Robert Chote said that even with a deal there could be further uncertainty relating to Brexit.

As such, the national debt is due to contract from 82pc of GDP now.

"NI Chamber is fully supportive of the Derry/Londonderry City Deal and we hope this gets over the line soon".

"This is extremely concerning, especially for Northern Ireland, which already has productivity levels amongst the worst in Europe and the lowest across the United Kingdom regions".

And, in many respects, the word "if" was the most significant of all in a setpiece speech which warned of significant repercussions if there is a no-deal Brexit.

But Sean Lavery, partner at business advisory firm BDO NI, said that a commitment by the Chancellor to tackle late and poor payment practices would be "commended by many in NI and beyond".

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