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Philip Hammond
Philip Hammond was speaking on the Andrew Marr Show ahead of next week's Budget Getty

Philip Hammond has delivered the first Autumn Budget in 21 years, which could also be the penultimate budget before Brexit, if the Chancellor keeps his promise to stick to one major fiscal event a year.

Here are the key points from Hammond's speech:

Budget round-up

Philip Hammond
Philip Hammond leaves Downing Street on his way to deliver his budget statement to parliament on 22 November. Reuters

You can find more on the Office for Budget Responsibility's revised forecasts here and an in-depth round-up of the main policies outlined by Hammond during his Budget's speech here.

That concludes IBTimes UK's live coverage of the 2017 Autumn Budget, thanks for following it.

ACCA welcomes "sensible, steady" moves on tackling tax avoidance

Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) - the global body for professional accountants - said: "We are pleased with the range of tax avoidance consultations which the government has announced today. We will be working closely with the Treasury as well as OECD and the European Commission to ensure that tax avoiders have no place left to hide.

"We welcome the targeted, realistic and proportionate approach the government has taken and this is exactly how we should ensure we stop the promotors and users of such schemes."

Fintech boss welcomes doubling of Enterprise Investment Scheme limits

Anil Stocker
Anil Stocker, chief executive and co-founder of peer-to-peer working capital finance platform MarketInvoice

Anil Stocker, co-founder and chief executive officer, of MarketInvoice welcomed the doubling of Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) limits for innovative companies.

"The move will encourage even more private investment. The government now needs to simplify the EIS rules. Investing in EIS has been encouraged by successive governments to raise funds for many small, unlisted businesses who attract around £1.6bn a year.

"However, it wasn't all good news for EIS as Philip Hammond confirmed the type of companies that could be invested in will be restricted. As ever, the devil will be in the detail but properly targeted, this could encourage private investment in innovation."

Read Anil Stocker's exclusive interview with IBTimes UK.

Chancellor grips steering wheel on economy, says CBI

Carolyn Fairbairn
Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the Confederation of British Industry. Reuters

Commenting on the budget, Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the Confederation of British Industry, said: "Against a sombre economic backdrop, the Chancellor today gripped the steering wheel on the UK economy. This is a budget that balances support for people on squeezed incomes with vital action to help grow the UK out of austerity. But delivery is everything.

"Action on business rates, research and development tax credits, the National Productivity Investment Fund and Brexit planning will help firms to invest and grow today against an uncertain Brexit backdrop. It was good to see focused investment in the long-term drivers of growth that underpin sustainable prosperity."

Up to '4,000 more companies' to become VAT registered per year as threshold frozen

Hacking Hands
Up to '4,000 more companies' to become VAT registered per year as threshold frozen. iStock

Research by global accounting firm Deloitte suggests up to 4,000 more businesses might become VAT registered per year following the budget, with the Chancellor deciding to freeze the threshold at £85,000 for two years while consulting on whether a reduction would be feasible..

Daniel Lyons, indirect tax partner at Deloitte, says: "On the evidence of the recent Office of Tax Simplification report this might result in an extra 4,000 or so businesses per year becoming VAT registered generating extra revenue of approximately £10m per year.

"Clearly freezing the registration threshold will do nothing to alleviate the problem of small business 'bunching' below the VAT registration threshold which many consider to be a drag on economic growth."

Low productivity will continue to dampen UK economic outlook

Hammond described low UK productivity growth as a long-term problem and unveiled plans to improve maths in schools and investing in transport to improve the situation.

But Andrew Sentance, a former Bank of England policymaker and senior economic adviser at PwC, said the issue of disappointing productivity growth is expected to continue to dampen the outlook for the UK economy.

"Medium-term growth forecasts have been downgraded by the OBR. There were some modest measures in the budget to support training and transport infrastructure. We will hopefully hear more when the government's Industrial Strategy is launched on Monday (27 November)."

Citizens Advice gives cautious welcome to Universal Credit tweaks

Chancellor Hammond announced the removal of the seven waiting days before a claimant can apply for Universal Credit in his budget; and significant improvements to the advance payments system - including increasing the amount available and extending repayment periods; and changes to support people with their rent payment when moving from Housing Benefit to Universal Credit.

Citizens Advice, a network of around 300 independent charities which has helped people with over 100,000 Universal Credit issues since the benefit was introduced, gave the proposed changes a cautious welcome.

Chief executive Gillian Guy says: "The changes are a very welcome step towards fixing the problems with Universal Credit, and should make a significant difference to the millions of people who will be claiming Universal Credit by the time it's fully implemented. We'll continue to keep a close eye on the roll-out of Universal Credit and make sure they do.

"The next step will be to make changes to work incentives, so that no one is left worse off under Universal Credit than they would be under previous benefits."

NHS Employers welcomes lifting of pay cap

autumn budget 2017
Ben Stansall/AFP

NHS Employers, part of the NHS Confederation charity, welcomes lifting of the pay cap for healthcare professionals in the budget.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, says: "There is a great deal to discuss, but the Chancellor's commitment to fund the additional pay bill is welcome. Meanwhile, NHS organisations are working hard to address staff concerns and better retain vital skills. But they also need national support.

"Increasing training numbers and improving access to affordable housing are welcome recent interventions to help employers recruit and retain staff, but investment is also needed in training budgets (known as continuing professional development, or CPD) as well as reform of migration policy and greater flexibility in apprenticeships."

Cutting through CPI to RPI business-rate relief proposal

The number crunchers at Deloitte have examined the Chancellor's CPI (consumer price index) to RPI (retail price index) business-rate relief proposal. The Chancellor announced that the annual inflationary uplift, which is currently linked to RPI, would be linked to CPI from 2018.

Gerry Biddle, director of business-rates at Deloitte Real Estate, says: "This will save ratepayers 0.9% and will cost the Treasury approximately £253m next year. The announcement brings forward the move from 2020 and it will be welcomed by hard pressed business occupiers."

Table below courtesy of Deloitte (click to enlarge).

Biz rates

GDP forecast reaction

One of the key points of Hammond's speech was that the British economy is now expected to grow by 1.5% in 2017, revised down from the 2% forecast made in March.

"The OBR's prediction that GDP will rise by just 1.3% in 2019 and 2020 could well be too pessimistic, assuming that a hard Brexit is avoided," said Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

"But on the other hand, the cost of further increases in income tax thresholds, and likely freezes in fuel duty, are not embedded in the forecasts."

Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index, added: "Although GDP was expected to be revised lower, forecasts were not expected to be slashed to this extent.

"The OBR forecasts are significantly below the BoE growth forecasts, which has led to the market to view them with suspicion."

OBR forecast

Corbyn hits back at Budget

Following the budget announcement from Philip Hammond, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has dismissed the speech as another notch on the government's "record for failure".

Speaking just after Hammond's speech, Corbyn said: "The test of a budget is how it affects the reality of people's lives all around this country.

"As the budget unfolds, the reality is that a lot of people will be no better off and the misery that many are in will be continuing."

More on the Labour leader's reaction here.

Jeremy Corbyn

Stamp Duty reactions

Hammond's decision to abolish Stamp Duty for all first time buyer purchases up to £300,000 has been met with mixed reactions.

"Eliminating Stamp Duty on all properties up to £300,000 will only help those buyers who are already making progress on saving a deposit," said Tim Bennett, head of education at Killik & Co.

"This is treating the symptom, not the cause. The real challenge is to help buyers save that initial deposit."

Elizabeth Bradley, partner and head of Tax at Berwin Leighton Paisner, added: "This will be a welcome move for thousands trying to get on the property ladder but it is far from the bold gesture needed to undo the damage that has been done by past reforms.

"The government has to acknowledge that there is a problem with the overly complex residential stamp duty land tax regime. It is time for real change to address this, not just tinkering."

David Battiscombe, consultant, at Berwin Leighton Paisner, said: "A politically driven Stamp Duty cut may be welcome news for first time buyers but if, as intended, it increases demand then an unintended consequence may well be to push up house prices."

Brexit remains the major uncertainty

"Brexit remains the key area of uncertainty for both GDP growth and the budget deficit, with the key unknown being whether a comprehensive deal can be achieved in both the goods and service sectors," said Shilen Shah, Bond Strategist at Investec Wealth & Investment.

"The key risk for the economy however remains whether a service sector agreement can be reached, given that it makes up more than 80% of the economy and its one area of trade where the UK has a surplus with the EU –in contrast to the manufacturing sector."

You can read the Budget here

Hammond's speech has finished

The Chancellor has now sat back down and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is now up.

Stamp duty abolished

In a move designed to help people in struggling housing markets such as London, the Chancellor has vowed to abolish Stamp Duty. "For all first time buyer purchases up to £300,000 I am abolishing stamp duty altogether," says Hammond. He adds people buying a home worth up to £500,000 will not have to pay stamp duty on the first £350,000.

autumn budget 2017
Ben Stansall/AFP

Housing reforms

As part of his housing reforms, Hammond states the government is committed to build homes in the Oxford-Cambridge corridor. The Chancellor adds the government wants homes built in high-demand areas and around transport hubs, adding the communities secretary Said Javid will make a further statement in due course.


Hammond turns to housing now and says the government plans to build 300,000 new homes by 2020, but warned solving the housing problem will "take more than money, it will take planning reforms".

The number of young people owning their own home has dropped from 59% to 38%, he says but Theresa May has pledged to address the issue. Over the next five years, £44bn will be committed to help the housing market and the Chancellor has also unveiled plans to legislate for councils to be allowed to impose a 100% empty homes premium on properties left vacant.

Grenfell tragedy

Hammond says the Grenfell tragedy "should have never happened" and that the government will provide Kensington and Chelsea Council with a further £28m for mental health services, regeneration support for the surrounding areas and a new community space for the Grenfell United.

IBTPOTY2017 Pictures of the week
14 June 2017: Smoke and flames billow from Grenfell Tower in west London as firefighters attempt to control a huge blaze. Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP

Pounds sees marginal slip in wake of economic forecast downgrades

Reacting to the Chancellor's downgrading of the UK's economic forecast, the pound saw marginal declines of 0.11% and 0.05% versus the euro and dollar, changing hands at €1.1266 and $1.3232 respectively.

Michael Metcalfe, global head of macro strategy for at State Street Global Markets, says: "The government has committed funds to help with the preparation for Brexit contingency planning. But high inflation and an expected weakening in growth provide a potentially troubling backdrop for markets even without the political uncertainties created by Brexit."

Switch to CPI business rates to be brought forward

The Chancellor says the switch to business rates measured by CPI inflation index rather than by RPI will be brought forward, after he listened to concerns over the rising costs of business rates.

The switch will now become effective in April 2018, two years earlier than planned, and will save businesses a combined £2.3bn.

Fuel duty frozen (again!)

autumn budget 2017
Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Hammond has rolled over the fuel duty freeze, cheering lobby group FairFuelUK.

Commenting on the decision, the group's Quentin Willson and Howard Cox say: "We're pleased that the Chancellor has understood the debilitating effect of raising fuel duty on consumers, households, businesses and the broad economy. He knows that now is not the time for gesture politics and that's why he's listened to the everyday anxieties of drivers."

Threshold for VAT registration to stay at £85,000

The threshold for VAT registration will remain at £85,000 for the next two years, dismissing speculation he would lower it.

Hammond adds the VAT registration is by far the highest among OECD countries, but it keeps most small businesses out of VAT

NHS to get extra funding

The Chancellor says the NHS will get an extra £10bn capital investment over this parliament and it will also receive an extra £3.75bn this year for its current budget, with £2.8bn destined to the NHS in England.

Taxes and duties

Hammond turns to taxes now and says the personal allowance will increase to £11,850 in April next year, while the higher rate threshold is set to raise to £46,350.

Meanwhile, the tobacco duty escalator will increase at a standard inflation rate plus 2% and there is an extra 1% rise for hand rolling tobacco.

However, duties on beer, wine, cider and spirits will be frozen to allay pressure on what he describes as the "great British pubs".

Air passenger duty will again be freezed short-haul passengers and for economy passengers for long-haul flights. Hammond says the extra revenue will be funded be funded by an increase on taxes for private jets.

North Sea oil and gas exploration to get a boost

Autumn Statement 2016: North sea oil
Oil rigs in the Cromarty Firth in Invergordon, Scotland Getty Images

Hammond says there will be a "tax break" for transfers of North Sea oil and gas fields.

The Chancellor calls the government's stance "an innovative tax policy that will encourage new entrants to bring fresh investment to a basin that still holds up to 20 billion barrels of oil."

Living wage to increase

"From April [the national living wage] will rise 4.4% from £7.50 an hour to £7.83," Hammond says.

Universal credit

Hammond says there will be £1.5bn available to make universal credit more generous, adding claimants will not have to wait seven days before they are entitled to money.

Meanwhile, the repayments period for advances will be extended from the current six months to 12 months. He adds David Gauke will give further details over the new measures in a statement to MPs tomorrow (23 November).

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Hammond is now discussing how the Budget will impact Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The former will see an extra £2bn destined to the Scottish government,while Wales will receive an extra £1.2bn and £650m will be set aside for Northern Ireland. He adds the government is working on a Belfast city deal, which could mark the beginning of city deals across Northern Ireland.

Improvement in connectivity

Hammond announces £30m to improve digital connectivity on the trans-Pennine route, adding there will also be a new city deal for the West Midlands and investment in Redcar.

Over £1bn worth of lending will be available to councils to fund high-investment projects.

"Scourge of plastic"

The Chancellor has now moved onto what he describes as the "scourge of plastic" and vows to investigate how the tax system and charges on single-use plastic items can reduce waste.

Driverless vehicles

Hammond pins his colours firmly to the mast of driverless cars. He acknowledges former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson does not like them, but insists there are very valid reasons to pursue them.

"I'm sorry, Jeremy, but I know it's not the first time you've been snubbed by Hammond and May," he says.

Chancellor unveils extra tax incentives for electric car drivers, including £400m charging infrastructure fund, an extra £100m in "plug-In-Car Grant", and £40m for research into charging.

Major boost for R&D

Hammond says the government plans to invest more than £500m "in a range of initiatives from artificial intelligence, to 5G and full fibre broadband". He also pledges to allocate £2.3bn to investment in research and development.

Government on course to meet its fiscal targets

Hammond says the OBR forecast borrowing will stand at £49.9bn this year, £8.4bn lower than forecast in the spring budget, before falling to its lowest level in 20 years by 2022-23.

In percentage terms, it is forecast to be 2.4% over 2017-18, before falling to 1.9% and 1.6% in 2018-19 and 2019-20 respectively, then down to 1.5%, 1.3% and 1.1% in following years up to 2022-23.

GDP forecast revised

Hammond says productivity has not improved. For the last 15 Budgets, the OBR has forecast productivity growth at 2%. However, that has been revised downwards and the OBR now expects the economy to grow 1.5% in 2017, before growing 1.4% in 2018 and 1.3% in the following two years.

Productivity will then grow to 1.5% and 1.6% respectively in 2021 and 2022.

UK manufacturing faces pressure in 2016

OBR forecast more people in work over the next three years

Hammond introduces economic forecasts.

"This is the bit with the long, economicky words in it," he says, in a thinly-veiled dig at Michael Gove.

After his gaffe on the Andrew Marr's show on Sunday, Hammond recognises there are 1.4 million people unemployed in Britain, but says the OBR is forecasting another 600,000 people in work by the 2020s.

Hammonds pledge extra Brexit funds

The Chancellor says the cost of Brexit planning is already up to £700m but he pledges to set aside another £3bn for Brexit preparations over the next few years.

"We are determined to ensure the country is prepared for every possible outcome," he says.

The economy continues to grow

Hammond begins by saying the economy "continues to grow, continues to create more jobs than ever before and continues to confound those who talk it down". The future will be "full of opportunities", which he is eager to seize.

Hammond insists Britain wants to maintain a special partnership with the European Union and one of the biggest boosts he can give to business is to "make early progress in delivering [May's] vision, with an implementation plan that allows businesses [to invest with confidence]".

Philip Hammond is up

At long last, the Chancellor is finally set to begin his speech.

Wetherspoon's boss tells parliament to stop messing about and cut food taxes

Wetherspoon Manifesto
Dan Cancian/IBTimes UK

Tim Martin, chairman of Wetherspoon, has called on the government to "stop messing about". Publishing his own economic manifesto on beer mats (pictured above), the founder of one of the UK's biggest pub chains calls on the government to eliminate food import taxes post-Brexit.

From March 2019, Martin says the government should stop paying the EU "£200m per week."

"The money disappears into EU coffers, which have not been audited properly since 1994," he concludes.

Read Tim Martin's recent columns for IBTimes UK.

Does the headline tell the full story?

Earlier today, Tory MPs tweeted a picture of a number of newspaper clippings, with headlines seemingly highlighting Britain's economy had fared better then expected by those opposing Brexit.

However, Business Insider's Thomas Colson has found one of the headlines was strategically cropped.

Seeking popular support to be the order of the day

Mihir Kapadia, chief executive of officer of Sun Global Investments, says: "In an attempt to win popular support, Hammond is likely to play safe and announce more housing support (with possible reforms on stamp duty), funds to boost education system, expenditure on infrastructure, something for the NHS, and close on a promise to bring Britain to glorious highs post-Brexit."

What do analysts say?

PMQs is now underway, which means Philip Hammond will be speaking in around 30 minutes. Before the Chancellor's speech begins, here is a round-up of what economists expect.

Iain McCluskey, partner at PwC, believes Hammond's job has been made much harder by a combination of internal politics and a lack of available funds.

"Targeted, low cost, simple but popular tax changes are the nirvana he will be shooting for," he explained.

"If only it was that easy. However, there are a few areas he may look to focus on."

Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index, believes the biggest market-moving event from the Budget could be Hammond's own performance.

"Brexiteers are circling for his job, and this Budget is the battlefield for mounting Brexit tensions within the cabinet," she said.

"If the Chancellor bombs then the knives will be out. If May is forced to sack her Chancellor in the aftermath of this Budget then this could be a big negative for the pound. If Hammond is forced out then May could find herself one step closer to the exit."

Hammond will pledge to eliminate rough-sleeping by 2027

According to the Evening Standard's Joe Murphy, the Chancellor will promise to eliminate rough-sleeping by the end of the decade by unveiling £240m worth of funds destined to London boroughs.

Public sector debt explained

The Treasury has tweeted a handy explainer of what Britain's public sector is and means for the country's economy.

George Osborne on Theresa May's "dream budget"

It is fair to say the former Chancellor has not missed a single opportunity to stick the knife into the Prime Minister since he was relieved of his duties in 2016 and became the editor on the London Evening Standard. The ongoing rumours of a rift between May and Hammond were obviously too good an opportunity to miss for Osborne.

Pound static as markets await budget

Pound coins
Pound coins are seen in the photo illustration taken in Manchester, Britain. Reuters

The pound is largely static, albeit in positive territory, ahead of the budget. At 11:17am GMT, £1 was fetching €1.1278 and $1.3247, representing nominal gains of 0.03% and 0.06% respectively.

Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM, says while Hammond's speech may revolve around managing the housing crisis, investors will be paying attention to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) which is expected to trim Britain's GDP growth forecasts.

"If the overall tone of the budget statement is gloomy and Brexit concerns making an appearance, Sterling is likely to find itself under renewed selling pressure. Taking a look at the technical outlook, the GBP/USD has found light support at 1.3230. An intraday breakout above $1.3250 could encourage a further incline towards $1.3300. Alternatively, a failure for prices to keep above $1.3230 may encourage a decline to $1.3150."

Theresa May tweets

The Budget is set to be a make or break moment for Hammond as ties between him and Theresa May are at "breaking point", but the PM's latest Twitter post appeared to suggest all is well within the Cabinet.

Hammond urged to invest in technology

A £1bn plan to boost technology in driverless cars as well as other areas, including artificial intelligence and 5G is also set to feature in the speech.

Ben Boswell, vice president of World Wide Technology for UK and Europe, said investment is needed to update Britain's manufacturing with technology like the Internet of Things, adding that just one in ten business leaders believe the UK is a leader within the digital industry.

Read IBTimes UK's exclusive interview with Boswell.

SMEs yet to feel the benefit of business-rate relief package

Small and medium enterprises are yet to feel the benefit of Hammond's relief package from March, says Peter Tuvey, managing director of alternative business lender Fleximize.

"It's clear that sky-high business rates are one of the biggest impediments to SME growth. Many are yet to feel the benefit of the £300m relief package the Chancellor announced in March, due to fundamental flaws in the way it's being delivered.

"If the government ploughs ahead and increases rates by 4% in 2018, it could be the final nail in the coffin for these businesses, which are the backbone of the UK economy".

Where to watch Hammond's speech

Those of you inclined to watch the Chancellor's performance on his big day can do so by clicking on the link below.

Labour sets out Budget demands

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has set out Labour's demands for the upcoming Budget.

Westminster rumour mill in overdrive on fractious May and Hammond relations

Hammond and May
Theresa May and Philip Hammond Reuters

Prime Minister Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond are just not getting along - that's if the Westminster rumour mill is to be believed.

Apparently, the Budget is set to be a make or break moment for Hammond as ties between him and May are at 'breaking point'.

Public finances

Pound coins

In March, the OBR expected Britain's budget to worsen for the first time in seven years, but tax receipts have held up much better than expected and the deficit is on track to be approximately £6bn lower than it was forecast in March.

That said, economists expect only a modest giveaway by the Chancellor.

"Borrowing is still is on track greatly to undershoot the OBR's March forecasts, despite October's poor data but the Chancellor will be hemmed-in by weaker GDP forecasts," said Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Furthermore, the OBR is set to downgrade the UK's productivity forecasts. The ONS said productivity improved 0.9% in the three months to October, but the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned a downgrade to 1% would push forecast borrowing up to £33bn by 2020/21 – erasing the headroom from lower borrowing this year.

New homebuilding pledge "not enough"

Hammond is reportedly ready to find £5bn for housing schemes and underwrite loans to small home builders, as part of a wider commitment to deliver approximately 300,000 new homes every year, adding an extra 50,000 to the current target the government set last year.

However, industry experts have warned the commitment might not be enough.

"While any concerted pledge to build new homes is obviously to be welcomed, the numbers being touted amount to little more than a drop in the ocean and simply won't supercharge the recent sluggish construction output numbers in isolation," said Daniel Wood, partner and construction expert at law firm, Gowling WLG.

"In reality, the need to prioritise and incentivise big-ticket infrastructure spending is greater now than at any time since the 2008 downturn.

"What's more, the industry is in real need of more concrete measures to tackle the ongoing issues of skills shortages, material costs and land availability if it is to truly flourish over the long term."

autumn budget 2017
Ben Stansall/AFP

Extra funds for public sector pay appears unlikely

Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC political editor, suggests that the Chancellor might be unwilling to loosen the purse strings when it comes to public sector pay.

Surf Air CEO calls on chancellor to boost entrepreneurship

Simon Talling-Smith
Simon Talling-Smith, chief executive officer of Sur Air Europe

Simon Talling-Smith, chief executive officer of 'membership driven' boutique airline Surf Air (Europe), calls for a bold budget. "There are various fiscal measures the government can take to boost entrepreneurs. We are a nation of entrepreneurs. Philip Hammond needs to recognise that with a pro-business budget."

Read IBTimes UK's exclusive interview with Talling-Smith.

Public sector pay and NHS

autumn budget 2017
Ben Stansall/AFP

Hammond is under intense pressure to plug a chronic gap in the NHS funding and to lift the public sector pay cap. Both have been key topics on the economic and political agendas and the Chancellor is expected to pledge to offer a pay rise to nurses, in what is widely expected to be seen as a "positive signal" to NHS staff.

The move would certainly be welcome by the unions, which have suggested the Chancellor can end "seven years of misery" for Britain's public sector workers.

"Seven years where they've had their real terms pay slashed, leaving them forced to use food banks which struggling to pay the rent and feed their families," said Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary for Public Services.

"People are sick to the back teeth of austerity - while the richest in the country enjoy tax cuts.

"If this Government can find £40bn to leave the EU, and £1.5bn to keep themselves in power – they can find the money to lift the pay cap for our millions of public sector workers"

EY says Hammond's budget likely to be a low key affair

Chris Sanger, head of tax policy at EY, says: "This Budget, as the first one of a Parliament, would normally be expected to be full of bold moves, where the Chancellor builds a war chest to utilise later in the Parliament. However, in this case, with a minority Government, and business and citizens struggling to understand what the future of the UK will be following Brexit, the Chancellor may seek to buck this particular trend."

However, Sanger adds that even if the first Autumn Budget for two decades is a low key affair, the market can still expect it to have elements to address the very factors that were identified as reasons for the election result.

"And, with the move to a "single fiscal event" and the downgrading of the Chancellor's Spring appearance to merely an economic statement, the Chancellor may be forced to include some measures he might have wanted to leave for six months."

FTSE and pound steady ahead of Budget

The UK markets are fairly quiet this morning, with the eyes of investors firmly focused on Philip Hammond. The FTSE 100 index is 0.3% higher to 7,431 points, while sterling is up 0.1% against the dollar to $1.3245 and 0.1% lower against the euro, fetching €1.1267.

"Investors have been looking at the budget as the key driver for sterling this week, with political analysts speculating on Hammond's future based on what he announces today," said William Anderson Jones, head of UK Corporate Dealing at RationalFX.

"Traders will be watching closely at the pound's movements, and how it will react to the economic and political outcome of the budget."

How has the UK economy done so far?

In October, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that Britain's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 1.5% year-on-year in the third quarter, compared with 2.3% 12 months ago.

However, last week, retail sales posted their first annual decline since 2013, while wages are persistently behind inflation, which has held at the highest rate in over five years over the last two months.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is expected to downgrade the 2% GDP growth it was expecting for 2017 back in March to around 1.5%, while growth expectations for the next four years are also likely to be lowered.

What to expect from the budget

A lot has changed in the eight months since Hammond delivered the last ever Spring Budget. Theresa May called a surprise General Election, which only succeeded in undermining her leadership after the Conservative Party failed to gain an overall majority, while Brexit negotiations have encountered a host of stumbling blocks.

Hammond himself has come under fire from within his own party for suggesting Britain should adopt a transitional period once it leaves the European Union, which makes his task today even trickier.

"The Chancellor is trying to hang onto his job as some high profile Brexiteers' would love to see one of their own at the helm of the Treasury," said Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index.

"Thus, the Chancellor needs to make sure he does enough to stay at Number 11 Downing Street while at the same time trying to make sure it's his policies, not his performance that grabs the headlines.

Here is all you need to know ahead of today.