Britain is ramping up its borrowing forecasts and cutting its growth outlook as the economy slows in the wake of the Brexit vote, UK finance minister Philip Hammond said in the country's first budget plan since voters decided to leave the European Union. Kate King reports.
Building a financially stable Britain post-Brexit. was the key to the UK's autumn budget. The Finance Minister drilling home the message that the UK is still 'open for business' even though uncertainty lies ahead... (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITAIN'S CHANCELLOR OF EXCHEQUER, PHILIP HAMMOND, SAYING: "Our task now is to prepare our economy to be resilient as we exit the EU and match-fit for the transition that will follow." It's now a case of growth down, borrowing up. Philip Hammond says the government expects to borrow 122 billion pounds MORE over the next five years- as a direct result of Brexit. Next year's GDP forecast cut to 1.4 per cent from 2.2. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITAIN'S CHANCELLOR OF EXCHEQUER, PHILIP HAMMOND, SAYING: "We no longer seek to deliver a surplus in 2019, 2020." Among Hammond's so called 'prudent' promises to try and jolt the economy 1.8 billion in funding to increase productivity in regional cities 23 billion to be spent on innovation and infrastructure over five years A 2.3 billion pound housing stimulus package and a commitment to cut corporation tax to 17 percent - to try and ensure Britain remains a business hub. SOUNDBITE (English) HEAD OF ECONOMICS, LLOYDS COMMERCIAL BANKING, ADAM CHESTER, SAYING: "The headline for me as an economist is the net borrowing figures which given the increase in GDP forecast rather the relatively optimistic GDP forecast highlights to me the perilous state of the fiscal finances clearly we have very significant national debt 1.7 trillion, we have a budget deficit which while falling remains in deficit territory and I think the real challenge for the government is going to be putting the fiscal finances back on an even keel." Britain's economy has so far largely withstood the shock of the Brexit vote But if anything Hammond's budget reveals - there are serious cracks which can't just be covered over.