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Austerity is over, Brittien says, despite Brexit's uncertainty

"East is not over," said Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition party, which added that it had caused "real pain…

“East is not over,” said Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition party, which added that it had caused “real pain for millions of our citizens.”

Although the UK economy has slowed, it is still growing and Mr Hammond still has room for maneuver, since tax revenues have risen higher than predicted. It has made it possible for him to honor commitments made by Prime Minister Theresa May, who had already promised a significant increase in spending to reduce the pressure on Britain’s overlaid national healthcare service (19459010).

Mr. Hammond said the budget deficit would be less than 1.4 percent of the total budget next year, with borrowing this year 11.6 billion, or 14.7 billion dollars lower than forecast in the spring. Next year’s growth forecast was upgraded to 1.6 percent from 1.3 percent.

But everywhere the picture is not so rosy. Debt remains high, approximately 84 percent of gross domestic product, compared with approximately 34 percent in 2001, and productivity growth remains steadily low.

According to the European Reform, a research institute in London, the British economy is 2.5 percent less than it would be if the country had voted to remain in the European Union.

Among other announcements on Monday was more money to dampen the effects of a new welfare scheme called universal credit, which critics say drives some people to acute poverty.

Mr. Hammond also promised a tax on some plastic packaging and investments in Heathrow Airport in London so that electronic passports could be used by visitors from the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan.

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