UK cuts economic growth forecasts, says finance minister

Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond leaves 11 Downing Street to present his budget, London, November 22, 2017. — Reuters pic
Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond leaves 11 Downing Street to present his budget, London, November 22, 2017. — Reuters pic

LONDON, Nov 22 — Britain has cut its official forecasts for economic growth, finance minister Philip Hammond said today as he delivered a budget statement in parliament.

The country’s official budget forecasters now expect gross domestic product will grow by 1.5 per cent in 2017, compared with a forecast of 2.0 per cent made in March.

Hammond told parliament the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) saw growth in 2018 at 1.4 per cent, compared with the previous forecast of 1.6 per cent.

Growth forecasts in 2019 and 2020 were both 1.3 per cent compared with 1.7 per cent and 1.9 per cent forecast in March.

By 2021 the growth forecast was 1.5 per cent, compared with a previous forecast of 2.0 per cent. The forecast for 2022, for which there is no previous OBR reading, was 1.6 per cent.

The OBR had been expected to take a gloomier view on the economy after it said in October that it would lower its projections for productivity growth in the years ahead.

Slower economic growth will mean lower tax revenues for Hammond, adding to the challenge of meeting his targets to improve Britain’s public finances. — Reuters

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