The claim was made in his annual Spring Statement, in which upgraded growth projections were announced, alongside a prediction of a fall in inflation and borrowing.
This year’s growth was forecast to be 1.5 percent, up from a forecast of 1.4 percent made in November by the Office for Budget Responsibility.
The forecast for 2019 and 2020 remains at 1.3 percent. MPs were told the UK’s debt would fall as a share of GDP from 2018/19, the “first sustained fall in debt for 17 years”. This was described by Mr Hammond as “a turning point in the nation’s recovery from the financial crisis of a decade ago.
Mr Hammond told MPs that he would use this year’s Autumn budget to “set an overall path for public spending for 2020 and beyond”, with a detailed spending review to follow in 2019.
However, despite the positive tones, an immediate end to austerity was ruled out.
The Statement earned the Chancellor accusations of “astounding complacency” from Labour MPs, while Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told the House of Commons that austerity had been “a political choice, not an economic necessity”.
Meanwhile, alongside growth predictions, the Chancellor revealed a number of consultations on future government policies, including slashing taxes for the least-polluting delivery vans on British roads; a tax on single-use plastic; and a ‘tech tax’ looking at how firms such as Google and Facebook are taxed.
Another consultation on the future of contactless and digital payments could even spell the end of one and two pence coins – one-in12 of which end up in bins, rather than cash registers