Spring Statement 2018: Plans to build more homes on track

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Christopher Lean, chartered financial planner at Aisa International told International Investment: "As far as financial services was concerned, there was nothing in the way of new policies announced in the Spring Statement, which means previously announced policies mentioned will start to take effect, unchanged, such as the staged increases to Automatic Enrolement from April".

Mr Hammond reiterated numerous spending pledges made in November's full Budget and instead of unveiling new ones, announced the start of a series of consultations.

UK Music have warned Chancellor Philip Hammond that the country's music studios and venues "need help now" from the "huge hikes in business rates" following last year's revaluation.

The Government remains committed to delivering three million apprenticeships throughout all sectors by the turn of the next decade. "The chancellor will no doubt be hoping that the economic and fiscal position looks sunnier as the year progresses, enabling him to dispense some giveaways in the Budget".

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The Chancellor gave a strong hint that austerity will be eased at the Budget in late autumn if the public finances continue to improve, saying that rather than being a gloomy "Eeyore" he was now "positively Tigger-like".

Nova Fairbank, public affairs manager for Norfolk Chamber, said Mr Hammond should resist using any breathing space which had been earned on headline-grabbing moves.

"Any headroom the chancellor has must be used to leave a lasting mark on our infrastructure and to attract investment - particularly with the challenges and changes of Brexit ahead", she said. Not only did they get to write a much shorter speech but, because this wasn't a normal fiscal statement, the Chancellor ignored all the calls from Labour and his own side to spend more money. "Existing plans alone are not enough".

Summing up the OBR's report, Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club, said: "There was continued caution in the deficit projections. the OBR's forecast implies that the strong gains in the fiscal position - seen so far this year - almost grind to a halt".

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However, Paul Mumford, fund manager at Cavendish Asset Management, said while he was loathe to question a forecast from the "ever-reliable" OBR, he described its confidence on inflation as "quite curious". "That's time that should be spent running their firms and increasing productivity".

"This provides the business community the opportunity to engage in the consultation process before the Treasury makes any decision".

He added: "The chancellor has shown he's on the side of our small business owners and self-employed entrepreneurs".

This confidence is repeatedly reflected by the actions and words of the US President, who signed the tariffs into action last Friday (due to begin on the 23rd of March).

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