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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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How the Autumn Statement went down in the workplace

  • Video report by ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi

Philip Hammond's Autumn Statement contained few headline-grabbing surprise announcements, but there was, as ever, a mixed response to what the Chancellor had to say.

On a day when he revealed the economy would take a £60 billion hit over the coming five years thanks Brexit, Mr Hammond did have some positive news - namely that fuel duty would be frozen and the National Living Wage increased. He also announced measures to ease cuts to Universal Credit.

Though welcomed by so-called 'JAMs' - those workers deemed 'just about managing' - the measures were not so positively received by their bosses.

One cutlery and silverware firm warned the hike in the living wage will make it more costly to take on new workers who need training.

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