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BUDGET 2017 LIVE: Hammond hails powerhouse UK economy as he hikes tax for self-employed and smokers in pre-Brexit Budget to pay for education revolution and £2billion social care boost
With potentially just a week to go before Theresa May formally launches the Brexit process, the Chancellor hailed the way the economy has 'confounded' the doom-laden warnings of Project Fear. Unveiling dramatically upgraded forecasts for UK plc, he said the country would be 'stronger and fairer' after we cut ties with Brussels. But Mr Hammond made clear he would live up to his cautious reputation as 'Spreadsheet Phil' by refusing to splash the cash from an estimated £60billion warchest thanks to UK plc's strong performance. Instead he signalled tax rises for the self-employed, company directors and smokers to help fund new commitments to help families who are 'feeling the pinch' - keeping the money in reserve for possible 'turbulence' during the fraught negotiations to come. Mr Hammond tried to head off a burgeoning row over the revaluation of business rates with help for losers from the process - in particular pubs - that could be worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
BUDGET 2017 LIVE: Analysis, reaction and the verdict on the Chancellor's speech - and what it means for youThis is Money blogs the analysis, reaction and charts from the experts and our own journalists through the day on the 2017 Bu
Chancellor eases business rate hikes with a £50 a month cap on increases and a £1,000 discount just for PUBS
The Chancellor has been under acute pressure from Conservative MPs to ease the burden of a business rates re-valuation in England that is due to send some bills spiralling from April 1.
Hammond splashes the cash on schools with £1BILLION for 21st Century grammars and new 'T-Level' vocational qualifications
NEW The Budget includes £320 million to help fund up to 110 new schools, including grammars, £500million on new technical qualifications and £216million on rebuilding schools.
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