Ham­mond to put house-build­ing be­fore deficit re­duc­tion

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Chan­cel­lor Philip Ham­mond says spend­ing on new homes and transport will be his pri­or­ity rather than fol­low­ing his pre­de­ces­sor George Osborne's aim to bal­ance the books by 2020.

He said the Brexit vote had caused un­cer­tainty and the "prag­matic" re­sponse was to sup­port growth now.

But the deficit was still "eye-wa­ter­ingly large" and would need to be tack­led "in due course".

While Mr Ham­mond had al­ready dropped his pre­de­ces­sor's tar­get of elim­i­nat­ing the deficit by 2019-2020, what was par­tic­u­larly strik­ing was his re­fusal to set a new timetable for bring the bud­get into sur­plus.

In his con­fer­ence speech to the Con­ser­va­tive an­nual gath­er­ing later, Mr Ham­mond said Mr Osborne's deficit re­duc­tion poli­cies "were the right ones for that time", adding: "But when times change, we must change with them. "Mr Ham­mond will say the govern­ment will still "re­store fis­cal dis­ci­pline" but in a "prag­matic way that re­flects the new cir­cum­stances we face", promis­ing fur­ther de­tails in Novem­ber's Au­tumn State­ment.

As part of "a new plan for the new cir­cum­stances Bri­tain faces" af­ter the Brexit vote, there will be greater scope for in­vest­ment to boost the econ­omy, in­clud­ing ex­tra bor­row­ing of £2bn to speed up the con­struc­tion of new homes.

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