HERE is Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget at a glance:
The Office for Budget Responsibility has upgraded its growth forecasts for the UK economy this year from 1.4% to 2%, while public sector borrowing estimates have been slashed by billions of pounds and real wages will rise through to 2020. But Mr Hammond signalled there will be no end to austerity.
A package of relief totalling £435 million was announced for small businesses. Firms losing small business rate relief will have their monthly increase capped at £50 for a year, some 90% of pubs will be given a £1,000 discount on business rates in 2017, and councils will be given a £300 million fund to deliver relief to small businesses.
Transport spending of £90 million for the North and £23 million for the Midlands was announced to address pinch points on roads, and a new £690 million competition for English councils to tackle urban congestion.
Hospitals will get £325 million to implement their sustainability and transformation plans and another £100 million will be put into a new triaging projects in England to help free up hospital beds.
The crisis-hit social care system will have another £3 billion pumped into it over the next three years, with £1 billion of this available in 2017/18. Mr Hammond ruled out a new “death tax” to fund social care.
Another 110 new free schools will be opened, including a new generation of grammars. Free school transport will be given to children on free school meals who attend a grammar, and £216 million will go into repairing existing schools. New T-levels will be created to improve vocational education, the hours for technical training will be increased and new university-style maintenance loans will be available.
Cigarettes and alcohol
There was no change to previously planned upratings of duties on alcohol and tobacco, but a new minimum excise duty will be introduced on cigarettes based on a packet price of £7.35.
Higher paid self-employed workers are to pay an average of 60p a week more in National Insurance contributions as part of changes to raise an extra £145 million by 2021-22.