Fees costing renters up to £380m will be scrapped as part of a suite of measures that will put cheaper housing at the heart of Philip Hammond's first Autumn Statement.

Charges for preparing tenancy agreements, checking references and credit history, which have surged due to the housing crisis, will be outlawed in a move that will feature alongside a £1.4bn investment in affordable housing.

The government says the boost for housing, will help build 40,000 new homes and allow providers more flexibility to offer people lower rents.

Although he is expected to announce weaker forecasts for GDP growth and public finances, Hammond will back the pledge by prime minister Theresa May to help those Britons who are "just about managing", or "JAMs".

He is expected to announce putting £1bn into universal credit over five years by reducing the rate at which benefits are taken away from people, meaning that the low paid can keep an extra 2p of every extra £1 they earn.

In addition, plans to increase the National Living Wage from £7.20 to £7.50 an hour, plus a 4% rise for over-25s from April 2017, will be backed up by new rules to ensure that employers comply.

However, economic growth is forecast to halve from around 2% this year to 1% in 2017, while credit ratings agency Moody's warned that "JAMs" may not be able to service car loans and mortgages due to rising inflation caused by Brexit.

The Treasury says the Autumn Statement will "improve the living standards of ordinary working class people and their families".

Autumn Statement 2016: Letting agent fees
A woman stops to look in the window of an estate agent in Islington, north London Reuters

But shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the government had failed to provide support for people on low and middle incomes.

On universal credit, he said: "If as reported, all the Chancellor is offering is a 2% change in the taper rate, then it will be too little, too late for those working families who have had to bear the brunt of six wasted years of failed Tory economic policies."

Speaking on the housing proposals, Labour spokesman John Healey said the announcement was too little to make good the huge cuts in housing investment from 2010, with investment still only half the level left by Labour.

"The reality is Ministers' deep cuts have left a funding shortfall of over £17bn compared to the plans I left as Labour's last Housing Minister. Today's announcement doesn't even make up a tenth of that," Sky News reported.