Britain's public finances showed a much smaller than expected deficit in October but still looked weak for the year as a whole, just a day before chancellor Philip Hammond is likely to unveil plans for heavier public borrowing following June's Brexit vote. Jacob Greaves reports.
As Philip Hammond prepares his first Autumn Statement .... It's the British Chancellor's first opportunity to set out his first post Brexit economic agenda And there's one acronym doing the rounds at Britain's Treasury (SOUNDBITE) (English) JACOB GREAVES. REUTERS REPORTER, SAYING: "JAMs, it stands for people 'Just about managing', those on moderate incomes, who might feel left behind and who could have voted for Brexit. This Autumn statement will try and make those people feel a bit more satisfied. But Britain's Chancellor has limited resources to spread." That could reportedly mean a freeze on fuel duty and boosted infrastructure spending But the Institute for Fiscal studies warns of slim pickings. They calculate a £25 billion black hole in public finances by the end of this parliament. Treasury minds are chewing over projected slower growth and higher inflation. But every Chancellor wants to bring their own unique flavour to Britain's fiscal offerings Hammond plans to scrap his predecessors pledge to balance the books by 2020. That buys him some borrowing head room But the UK is still trying to stare through the looking glass into Brexit Britain. When he announces his plan on Wednesday, Hammond's extra leeway may come with a caveat and be stockpiled for any looming economic shocks.