Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered the 2018 Spring Statement to the House of Commons, stating that the government has ‘made solid progress towards building an economy that works for everyone’.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which produced the latest UK economic forecasts, stated: ‘The economy has slightly more momentum in the near term, thanks to the unexpected strength of the world economy, but there seems little reason to change our view of its medium-term growth potential.’
The Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, lambasted the Chancellor’s Statement, saying: ‘Today we have the indefensible spectacle of a Chancellor congratulating himself on marginally improved economic forecasts, while refusing to lift a finger as councils go bust, the NHS and social care are in crisis, school budgets are cut, homelessness has doubled and wages are falling.’
Mr McDonnell labelled the Chancellor’s complacency as ‘astounding’, stating that the UK faces a ‘crisis’ in every public service.
He called for Mr Hammond to ‘act now’ in order to help public service workers, such as doctors and nurses, who are ‘struggling and being asked to do more’ while 100,000 NHS posts go unfilled.
Meanwhile, Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said that the OBR’s latest forecast is ‘a long way behind’ the figures estimated in March 2016, before the EU referendum.
He also called for the government to ‘be honest with the public’ in regard to the tax rises that will be necessary to fund the NHS and Britain’s social care, police and school systems.