Extra cash for NHS and Brexit as growth down

Philip Hammond delivers his Budget in the Commons

By Alan McGuinness, Political Reporter

The Chancellor has announced an emergency cash injection for the NHS and extra money to plan for Brexit, as he revealed economic growth has been revised down.

Philip Hammond said the Government would put up an extra £2.8bn for the "under pressure" health service, with £350m provided immediately to help health trusts across the country this winter.

Pledging to ensure Britain is "fit for the future", Mr Hammond announced he has set aside an £3bn to make sure Britain is ready for "every possible outcome" when it comes to Brexit.

:: Live updates: Budget 2017

MIDDLEWICH, ENGLAND - MAY 20:  Construction workers build new houses on a housing development on May 20, 2014 in Middlewich, England. Official figures have shown that house prices have risen by 8% in the year ending in March. There have been calls by some experts for the UK Help to Buy scheme to scaled down as it boosts the property market.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Chancellor's surprise for new homebuyers

He said the economy "continues to grow, continues to create more jobs than ever before and continues to confound those who seek to talk it down" and pledged to "look forwards not backwards".

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn condemned the Budget, saying it was a "record of failure with a forecast of more to come".

On the wider economy, the Chancellor revealed growth over the next five years has been downgraded because of poor productivity, which he said "continues to disappoint".

:: All the key points at a glance

London ambulance
Hammond commits an extra £2.8bn for NHS in England

GDP is now expected to grow by 1.5% in 2017 – down from March's 2% forecast – 1.4% in 2018, 1.3% in 2019 and 2020, before experiencing an uptick in 2021 (1.5%) and 2022 (1.6%).

The Chancellor had been expected to reveal measures to try and win back the young vote, and chief among these was the abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers completing on homes up to £300,000 in high-price areas.

Housing was a prime focus, with Mr Hammond committing the Government to building 300,000 extra new homes a year by the middle of the next decade.

At least £44bn of capital funding, loans and guarantees to support the housing market will be provided, he told MPs.

There was also action on the controversial Universal Credit welfare reforms, with a £1.5bn package unveiled to cut the waiting time for payments to make it easier for claimants to get an advance.

Mr Hammond acted to assuage concerns from firms about changes to business rates, changing the measure of inflation that is used to calculate increases two years ahead of schedule.

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