'Austerity-easing' Budget facing more scrutiny months away from Brexit

UK announces digital services tax on tech giants

Budget 2018: Brexit 'deal dividend' will bring Spending Review boost, says Hammond

He suggested that a Brexit deal could trigger more tax cuts and increased public service spending.

Hammond said the tax would be "carefully created to ensure it is established tech giants - rather than our tech start-ups - that shoulder the burden of this new tax".

But Theresa May's official spokesman said that the Chancellor was indicating that he was ready to use his "fiscal firepower" to shore up the economy if the United Kingdom withdraws without a deal.

Chancellor Philip Hammond reserved his most dramatic Budget announcement yesterday to declare that he would raise the income tax thresholds a year early.

An analysis Tuesday by the think-tank the Resolution Foundation found that welfare cuts would continue to affect the poorest households in Britain, despite Hammond's announcement that austerity was coming to an end.

But the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned that the amended figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility could easily be reversed, forcing the Chancellor to borrow more after "painting himself into a corner".

The Spectator said the budget served as confirmation that the Conservative party is now fighting on Corbyn's turf, a reference to main opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn who aspires to gain the keys to 10 Downing Street.

He told MPs: "Whatever the Chancellor claims today, austerity is not over".

Johnson said it was hard to measure spending on the NHS but under several measures, the rise was what one is measuring between 2.6 percent a year (an estimate of total health spending increases between 2017-18 and 2023-24) and 3.4 percent a year (daily spending on the NHS over the same period).

The income tax threshold will rise next April to £12,500 for personal allowance and £50,000 for the higher-rate threshold.

He said: "We are not going to oppose it on the basis it will put more money in people's pockets". This means a basic rate taxpayer will pay £1,205 less tax in 2019-20 than in 2010-11.

Mr Hammond also indicated he was ready to bow to the growing clamour from Tory backbenchers for extra cash to ease the transition to Universal Credit when its rolls out nationally from next year.

The Chancellor is today giving the final Budget before the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

The Chancellor also insisted that his Budget tax cuts and spending hikes were not meant to woo voters ahead of an early poll.

Mr Hammond insisted that was not the outcome he expected and he remained confident there would be an agreement with Brussels. However, the OBR still projects a slowdown after 2019, with GDP growth forecast to come in at just 1.4% in both 2020 and 2021 before rising back to 1.6% in 2023.

As UC is rolled out, around one-third of benefit claimants will end up £1,000 or more worse-off and one-third at least £1,000 a year better-off than they would have been under the previous system.

In response to the security threats facing the UK, Mr Hammond promised an extra £1 billion to the Ministry of Defence and £160 million to fund counter-terrorism policing.

A total of £420 million has been made immediately available to local highway authorities to spend on tackling potholes, bridge repairs and other minor works in this financial year.

It comes after the use of PFI and PF2 contracts to fund construction of hospitals and schools, for example, has declined significantly and come under criticism.

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