Strong figures put pressure on Philip Hammond

Conservative Party Conference 2017 Day Two

Hammond is facing calls to “end austerity”

Lower than expected borrowing and higher than predicted GDP growth a year ago will bring a note of optimism, but Philip Hammond has already suggested it is too early to take his foot off the austerity brake.

But all eyes will be on the Office for Budget Responsibility's forecasts for the deficit, debt, GDP and productivity, to see whether they back up the Chancellor's claim that there is now "light at the end of the tunnel".

Last month the OBR said 2017/18 borrowing would be around £43bn rather than the £49.9bn forecast last November. "That is a very important moment for us but we are still in the tunnel at the moment".

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Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: "Our public services are at breaking point and many of our local councils are near bankruptcy".

Hammond will use today's Spring Statement to announce a call for evidence on such a tax. Our country can not afford for him to continue to ignore the problems facing working households in our country.

Philip Hammond is expected to deliver a low-key financial update despite a plea from Conservative former Minister Gary Streeter to help councils with finances "cut to the bone". His Treasury deputy Liz Truss said there would be "no red box, no rabbits out of the hat and no tax changes".

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On March 13th the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the UK Philip Hammond is expected to announce the launch of a new public consultation of potential tax measures aimed at eliminating or reducing the spread of single-use plastics.

"The UK government is asleep at the wheel while Brexit has already started to hit the economy", said Ms Blackman.

However, the government has yet to clarify what a single-use plastic is.

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