â€œ. . . A new chapter in our countryâ€™s historyâ€
In his first Autumn Statement, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, boasted that the UK will be the fastest growing major economy in the world.
He added that the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated it (the UK economy) had â€œconfounded commentators at home and abroad with its strength and resilience.â€ Overall he has pledged to tackle its long-term weaknesses and create an â€œeconomy for everyone.â€
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth to be 1.4% in 2017, rising to 1.7% in 2018, 2.1% in both 2019 and 2020, and 2% in 2021. The government is no longer anticipating a budget surplus in 2019/20. The Chancellor does, however, promise the budget will balance â€œas soon as practicableâ€ in the next parliament. Unfortunately, Brexit is expected to reduce growth in the UK by 2.4 percentage points
over the next five years.
Public borrowing, according to the OBR, will be reduced to 3.5% of GDP this year, compared with 4% seen in the last financial year and it will fall continuously during this parliament before reaching 0.7% in 2021/22 â€“ the lowest level seen for two decades. In total this borrowing equates to Â£68.2bn in 2016/17, reducing each
year to Â£17.2bn in 2021/22.