Chancellor Sajid Javid will today announce that the first post-Brexit Budget will take place on March 11 – promising a spending spree to “unleash” Britain’s potential, help “left behind” parts of the country and usher in a “decade of renewal”.
The budget will come less than six weeks after the planned January 31 Brexit leaving date and – the Government hopes – pave the way for the December 31 end of the transition period.
The Chancellor’s promise to unite the north and south with new investment will follow a visit yesterday to see the work being done on the new £350 million Trafford Park tram line project in Manchester.
Today, as part of the budget announcement, he is due to set out plans to improve public services and explain how the UK can take advantage of the “huge opportunities” that he claimed will be presented by leaving the European Union.
The Government is set to increase borrowing to fund promises in the Tory election manifesto, with Mr Javid saying “the country voted for change” by backing Boris Johnson at the ballot box in December.
Promising an “infrastructure revolution” in his first Budget as Chancellor – he replaced Phillip Hammond when Boris Johnson became PM in July – Mr Javid indicated there would be up to £100 billion available for “transformative” projects across the country over the coming years.
He said: “The country voted for change. There are still too many people in our great country that feel left behind and we are going to deliver that change.
“With this Budget we will unleash Britain’s potential – uniting our great country, opening a new chapter for our economy and ushering in a decade of renewal.”
Mr Javid will provide an economic update to the Cabinet today before facing MPs in the Commons as they return from their Christmas break.
During the general election campaign Mr Javid made a decisive break from the policies adopted by his predecessors, promising to loosen constraints on borrowing to the tune of up to £20 billion a year for capital spending.
In the Budget Mr Javid will update the Charter of Fiscal Responsibility with new rules to allow him to take advantage of historically low interest rates to borrow to invest “properly and responsibly”.
Mr Javid also said he would offer help for “hard-working people in particular, especially with the cost of living”.
He had been due to deliver a Budget in November but that was cancelled after Brexit was delayed and Mr Johnson decided to go to the country.
Reacting to the announcement British Chambers of Commerce co-executive director Claire Walker said business leaders would look to the Budget to “boost confidence and stimulate growth” at what remained a time of significant uncertainty for the UK economy.
She said: “Firms of all sizes need to see a package of fiscal measures to alleviate the burden of high up-front costs and boost investment.
“The Chancellor must outline how he will make good on election promises of a fundamental reform of Business Rates and we also need to see a moratorium on all new up-front costs for businesses for the duration of this Parliament.
“This is the first opportunity for the new government to demonstrate that it listens to business and is serious about tackling the day-to-day challenges holding firms back.”
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