Budget 2017: Hammond to set out "upbeat" vision of Brexit Britain
Treasury trails Hammond's first Budget, as OECD upgrades UK growth forecast
Philip Hammond will deliver an "upbeat assessment" of the state of the UK economy in today's Budget – and insist Britain can thrive outside the European Union.
The chancellor will make the optimistic prediction against the backdrop of the OECD upgrading its economic growth forecast for the UK.
It said the British economy would expand by 1.6% in 2017 – up from its previous estimate last November of 1.2%.
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In his first Budget, Hammond will insist that the government remains committed to reducing the deficit and will not shy away from hiking taxes and cutting spending to balance the books.
Hammond will also pledge that the government will do all it can to help families who are "just about managing".
A Treasury source said: "The chancellor is expected to give an upbeat assessment of the future of the British economy, offering a positive backdrop to his first Budget ahead of the start of new chapter for the country outside of the EU.
"He will say that a strong economy is built on resilience, so the Government will continue reducing the deficit, not shirking the difficult decisions on tax and spending, while still investing in Britain’s future.
"He will go on to say he knows that many are still feeling the pinch, almost 10 years on from the financial crash and that the Government will do everything it can to help ordinary working families to get on.
"He will say that in building the foundations of a stronger, fairer, better Britain, outside the EU – the government understands the concerns of those who worry about their children’s ability to access the opportunities they themselves enjoyed, in our rapidly changing economy.
"He will say that that this government will tackle this challenge head on by investing in young people’s ability to go to a good school, get good qualifications and get the right skills, equipping them for the jobs of tomorrow so they have real economic security."
The Treasury has already confirmed that Hammond will announce make £320m available for 140 new free schools, which will be free to select their pupils on academic ability.
He is also expected to come up with extra cash for social care, and to help firms affected by the huge rise in business rates due next month.
The government has already announced a £23bn plan to improve productivity and a £500m a year revamp of technical education.
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