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Chancellor delivers first Autumn Statement

Philip Hammond has delivered his first Autumn Statement as Chancellor - and laid bare the economic gloom facing the nation.

Forecasts revealed sweeping downgrades to UK growth and a sharp rise in Government borrowing, abandoning his predecessor's plan to balance the books by 2020.

Key measures included:

  • Fuel duty freeze, a 30p rise in minimum wage and measures to ease cuts to Universal Credit
  • Income free tax allowance to rise to £12,500 by 2020 with higher tax rate threshold raised to £50,000
  • £23bn investment on innovation and infrastructure over five years
  • £3.7bn total housing spend to build 100,000 new high-demand homes and 40,000 more affordable homes, plus ban on upfront fees charged by letting agents
  • Hammond also abolished the Autumn Statement, saying the main Budget statement will now move from the spring to the autumn

But the impact of Brexit on future public finances has led the Office for Budget Responsibility to forecast a £220bn increase in the national debt by 2020.

This is worse than feared, according to ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston.

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Chancellor announces £23bn Productivity Investment Fund

Philip Hammond delivering the Autumn Statement

Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced a new National Productivity Investment Fund of £23 billion to be spent on innovation and infrastructure over next five years.

Setting out his first Autumn Statement, Mr Hammond said the fund will "directly contribute" to raising Britain's productivity.

Raising productivity is essential for the high-wage, high-skill economy that will deliver higher living standards for working people.

– Chancellor Philip Hammond

The new funding commitments include:

  • New research, development and innovation investment rising to an extra £2bn per year by 20-21
  • £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund to deliver infrastructure for up to 100,000 new homes in areas of high demand
  • A further £1.4bn to deliver 40,000 additional affordable homes
  • An additional £1.1bn of investment in English local transport networks

Mr Hammond also announced a programme of major road schemes in the north as part of a strategy for "addressing productivity barriers in the Northern Powerhouse".

Regional investments will include:

  • £1.8bn from the Local Growth Fund to the English regions
  • 556m to Local Enterprise Partnerships in the North of England
  • £542m to the Midlands and East of England
  • £683m to LEPs in the South West, South East and London

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