Budget 2018: The big announcements expected


By Aubrey Allegretti, political reporter

Philip Hammond is preparing to give his biggest speech of the year, revealing the government’s plans to change taxes and spending over the next 12 months.

The chancellor will deliver the annual budget at 3.30pm on Monday, with announcements on roads, broadband, social care, defence and the high street already trailed.

So what do we know about the plans for Britain’s economy in the final budget before Brexit?

Sky News unpicks all the main announcements expected tomorrow.

:: Love for the high street

High streets will get a boon in the budget

A £1.5bn boost for UK high streets will be announced, through business rates being cut by a third for almost half a million small retailers.

That includes £900m of immediate relief and town planning laws being relaxed.

According to the Treasury, the changes would mean a pub in Sheffield with a rateable value of £37,750 will save £6,178 next year and a newsagent in Moseley, Birmingham with a rateable value of £14,250 will save £1,749.

There will also be a new £650m fund to improve infrastructure and transport and to re-develop empty shops as homes and offices, and restore and re-use old and historic properties.

At the same time, Mr Hammond will announce a review of marriage laws in England and Wales, allowing more hotels, pubs and restaurants to hold weddings.

:: A clean up of pot holes

A car drive around a pothole on Broomhill Road, Bristol.
Pot holes will be targeted in a bid to clean up Britain’s roads

Britain’s roads will get the “biggest-ever single cash investment” in a bid to improve the country’s road network.

Some £30bn will be committed, partially to help local authorities fix pot holes and other road damage.

“These are small projects in themselves but they make a huge difference to people and actually they make a huge difference to the efficiency of the road system overall so this is money well spent, well invested,” Mr Hammond told Sky News.

He has also teased an “important announcement” about road tax – saying it is important that it is all reinvested into roads.

:: Broadband injection for rural areas

A BT Openreach engineer working on telephone lines in Havant, Hampshire as BT broadband and landlines are down across the UK, the company has said.
Superfast broadband is planned for rural schools and libraries

At least £250m pounds will be pledged to install superfast broadband is some of the country’s most remote areas, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

Rural schools and libraries will be targeted as part of a commitment to give them “full fibre” connectivity in a speech that “places technology at the heart” of the budget, the paper said.

“For the 21st century broadband is to roads in the 20th, railways in the 19th, and canals in the 18th. It’s the network infrastructure that will make this country work,” he said.

:: Immediate action on defence budget

Soldiers from 9 Theatre Logistic Regiment, form up for an operational medals parade in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. to mark their return to the UK after a 6 month deployment to Iraq.
The chancellor promised to address defence funding in his speech

Mr Hammond has hinted he will pledge more cash for the defence budget, following a public lobbying effort from the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.

He told the Sunday Telegraph there was an “immediate challenge in defence” that he would “address in my speech”.

It is a personal area for him as a former defence secretary, Mr Hammond promising that “I absolutely get the problems and the challenges in defence”.

:: A tech giants tax

Facebook has removed over 80 accounts with ties to Iran
Mr Hammond is reportedly mulling a tech giant tax

Mr Hammond is also mulling more action to take on tech giants, after Facebook paid a net £7.4m in corporation tax last year despite revenues of almost £1.3bn.

No specific details are reported, as the government still wants to get international agreement on the issue.

But if that proves impossible, Mr Hammond suggested the UK was ready to act alone.

“British people have a really very strong sense of fairness, and there is a real sense that it is just simply unfair that these very large internet companies are not paying their fair share of tax in the UK,” he said.

:: Other policies – social care and loan schemes

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 08:  Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond holds the budget box up to the media as he leaves 11 Downing Street on March 8, 2017 in London, England. Today's Budget will be the last one to take place in the spring. It is being replaced by an annual autumn Budget, the first of which is to be held later this year. The current Chancellor wants to simplify the process of setting taxes and government spending.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Mr Hammond will deliver the Commons statement at 3.30pm on Monday

Scant details on a number of other policies have also been reported.

A no-interest loan scheme for people struggling with debts from payday lenders could feature, according to the Sunday Times.

And the newspaper said more than £800m will be handed to councils to spend on adult social care, with an additional £100m for children.

:: Watch the budget live on Sky News at 3.30pm on Monday


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