British Chancellor gives clues about Britain’s Brexit economy

London, Nov 21 (IANS) Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond spoke on Sunday of the financial challenges ahead for Britain as it heads towards leaving the European Union.

Hammond delivered his first autumn statement in the House of Commons on Wednesday, essentially a “state of the nation” finance report ahead of next Spring’s main spending budget, Xinhua news agency reported.

In a round of traditional media interviews ahead of his statement, Hammond and his advisers gave hints about what to expect.

Spending $1.6 billion on road schemes and scrapping a proposed increase in the duty on auto fuel are both expected to be announced.

The main message from Hammond will be the British economy faces a sharp challenge.

Hammond said his Autumn statement will focus on making sure the British economy is “match-fit for the opportunities and the challenges that lie ahead.”

In one interview he said Britain had to “maintain our credibility” as it still had a significant deficit, adding: “I want to make sure that the economy is watertight. That we have enough headroom to deal with any unexpected challenges over the next couple of years and most importantly, that we are ready to seize the opportunities of leaving the European Union.”

He also said he wanted to support people who work hard and “by and large do not feel that they are sharing in the prosperity that economic growth is bringing to the country”.

Political commentators are waiting to hear how Hammond will respond to reports that British economy is facing a projected 100 billion pounds ($123.43 billion) “black hole” in its finances as a result of the June 23 vote to leave the European Union.

–IANS

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