Chancellor sets out bright forecast for United Kingdom in spring statement

Chewing gum on show

Hammond confirmed that a planned evaluation of those business rates will now be brought forward a year to 2021, with three-year gaps between evaluations from that year onwards also being proposed.

However, Paul Mumford, fund manager at Cavendish Asset Management, said while he was loathe to question a forecast from the "ever-reliable" OBR, he described its confidence on inflation as "quite curious".

Economic growth this year is now expected to hit 1.5%, up from the 1.4% predicted at the Autumn Budget in November.

Hammond stressed he had to keep on bringing down Britain's public debt levels but tried to focus on the positives, highlighting the OBR's prediction of a return to growth in spending power for households in early 2019. Not only did they get to write a much shorter speech but, because this wasn't a normal fiscal statement, the Chancellor ignored all the calls from Labour and his own side to spend more money.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has delivered an optimistic assessment of the United Kingdom economy saying that after years of austerity that "there is light at the end of the tunnel".

"We've had clients who have left the county because the broadband isn't good enough for their business".

Britons voted in 2016 to leave the European Union, despite warnings that it would negatively impact growth.

Sterling rose after the announcement, but Old Mutual Global Investors head of United Kingdom equities Richard Buxton said this was likely in reaction to the USA dollar falling on the news that U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson was being fired, rather than anything material contained in Hammond's statement.

Trump views border wall prototypes, after ousting Tillerson
USA and Mexican authorities appeared to be collaborating closely on security measures before the president's visit. President Trump inspects border wall prototypes in Otay Mesa, Calif., on March 13, 2018 .

But the pace of growth was expected to slow further in 2019.

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond leaves 11 Downing Street in London, March 12, 2018.

Seeking to shrug off his image as the Eeyore of the cabinet, the chancellor presented modest upturns in economic forecasts and declared there was "light at the end of the tunnel". That was less of a cut than many economists had expected.

Britain has cut its annual borrowing from 10 per cent of gross domestic product in 2010, when it was reeling from the global financial crisis, to just over 2 per cent now. Assuming there are no hiccups, spending on public services will be increased in the autumn budget.

While debt as a percentage of GDP is expect to rise to 86.5% in 2018-19, it will then begin dropping, falling to 77.8% by 2021-22.

Summing up the OBR's report, Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club, said: "There was continued caution in the deficit projections. the OBR's forecast implies that the strong gains in the fiscal position - seen so far this year - almost grind to a halt".

He said the OBR's new forecasts showed he was likely to have 15.4 billion pounds of headroom below that target, up slightly from November's forecast.

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