Spring Statement 2019 – what did Chancellor Philip Hammond say and what does it mean for you?

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Spring Statement 2019 - what did Chancellor Philip Hammond say and what does it mean for you?



MILLIONS of British workers could get a pay rise as the economy continues to grow amid Brexit “uncertainty”, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in today’s Spring Statement.
The Chancellor gave what will be the last economic update before Britain’s scheduled EU exit date on March 29 – but what do the announcements today mean for you?
Getty Images – Getty Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered today’s Spring Statement
The highlights from today’s Spring Statement
Free sanitary products in secondary schools, a pledge to end low pay, new powers for consumers and more help for first-time buyers were all announced today.
There wasn’t much for consumers to get excited about as Brexit uncertainty continues after another crippling Commons defeat last night and a vote on a no-deal scenario this evening.
But a spending review will take place before the summer recess, the Chancellor announced, alongside the full budget in the autumn.
Known as a “mini budget,” the Spring Statement is an update on economic forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
Traditionally the Chancellor would make two big financial statements but Hammond changed the arrangement in 2016.
We take a look at some of the highlights from today’s announcements, and who they will help.
Economy

The economy continues to grow, despite a “cloud of uncertainty over the country” as Brexit looms nearer, the Chancellor said.
But growth for this year has been revised down to 1.2 per cent from 1.6 per cent announced in October’s autumm budget.
There’s some good news though – growth for 2021/2022 has been revised up to 1.6 per cent from 1.5 per cent.
The OBR has also revised its wage growth up to at least 3 per cent each year.
Mr Hammond said the economy is “robust enough” to weather a Brexit no-deal storm.
But Yael Selfin, the chief economist at KPMG, has since tweeted to say that the Government doesn’t have enough in the coffers to withstand a no-deal exit.
Meanwhile, Mr Hammond said the Government would create another 600,000 UK jobs by 2023, with unemployment at its lowest level of 4 per cent since 1975.
Pay rises for millions?
The Chancellor dangled the possibility of pay rises for millions of workers after 2020 as he announced a review of the national living wage.
Mr Hammond said the review’s ultimate objective will be to “end low pay” in the UK.
The Government has now appointed expert Professor Arindajit Dube to conduct the review.
As announced in the budget last year, the national living wage will increase by 38 pence-an-hour to £8.21, affecting 2.4million workers.
E-gates for global travellers

From June, citizens of the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Singapore and South Korea will be able to use e-gates at UK airports and Eurostar terminals, it was announced today.
Mr Hammond said this will “significantly reduce queues and improve the flow of passengers and the overall experience at the UK border”.
Landing cards will also be abolished.
And PhD students will be exempt from a cap on high-skilled visas from this autumn in a bid to boost UK research and development.New powers for consumers
“We need to adapt our regulatory environment to ensure competition works for consumers in the digital market place, as it does in the real market place.So I asked @JasonFurman, Barack Obama’s former Chief Economist, to review competition in the digital market.” #SpringStatement pic.twitter.com/FXzgw5bMXr— HM Treasury (@hmtreasury) March 13, 2019

Plans to open up the digital market and give consumers more “choice and innovation” were also announced.
The Government has asked the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to carry out a review of the digital advertising market to curb the powers of tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon.More help for first-time buyers and homeowners
A new £3bn Affordable Homes Guarantee scheme, to support delivery of around 30,000 affordable homes…And £717m from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to unlock up to 37,000 new homes on sites in West London, Cheshire, Didcot, and Cambridge.#SpringStatement pic.twitter.com/9ZF5X7W41M— HM Treasury (@hmtreasury) March 13, 2019

The government will guarantee up to £3billion to build around 30,000 affordable homes in the UK through the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme, it was announced.
There will also be £14.7million to unlock 37,000 new homes in Didcot, west London, Cheshire and Cambridge.
The aim is to boost housing supply by the end of this Parliament to its highest level since 1970, and the Government said it’s on track to reach 300,000 new houses a year on average.New homes will be banned from using fossil fuels from 2025

The Chancellor said new homes will be banned from using fossil fuels from 2025.
That could mean new homes are built without boilers, gas hobs or gas radiators.
Free sanitary products for all schools in England

Free sanitary products will be available in schools and colleges in England from this September, the Government confirmed today.
Statistics show some women are being forced to choose between paying the bills and buying tampons, while schoolgirls have missed school because they couldn’t afford sanitary products.
The average woman spends more than £150 a year on the products.
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The Chancellor being pictured holding the red box briefcase is a traditional part of every Autumn Budget, but what is in it?
Mr Hammond is often viewed as a boring accountant, but he has actually had an exciting career before becoming the UK’s top financier.
Last month, he said Britain’s economy had stalled due to the paralysis over Brexit.

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