Spring Statement 2018: everything you need to know

You could be taxed if you spit chewing gum out in the street

Ministers hope chewing gum will be considered alongside other environmentall damaging plastics

Chancellor Philip Hammond stood up to deliver his spring statement at 12.32pm.

Yet in reply, Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: "Does the chancellor really believe the NHS can wait another eight months for the lifesaving funds it needs?"

Addressing the Commons earlier, Hammond said: "It [the call for evidence] will look at how the tax system can help drive the technological process and behavioural change that we need, not as a way of raising revenue, but as a way of changing behaviour and encouraging innovation".

Mr Hammond expressed optimism over the latest forecasts from the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR), with economic growth ahead of target for 2018 and inflation set to decrease.

Mr Hammond also said that some 60,000 first-time buyers have benefited from the abolition of stamp duty on homes under £300,000, a policy which was also announced - and came into force - on the date of the 2017 Autumn Budget.

The Chancellor ruled out extra spending in tomorrow's Spring Statement, but said there was "light at the end of the tunnel".

He said it will remain unchanged at 1.3 per cent in 2019 and 2020, before picking up to 1.4 per cent in 2021 and 1.5 per cent in 2022.

Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist at the Confederation of British Industry, largely echoed Mr Marshall's remarks, saying that it was "great to see an upgrade in the state of our public finances and rightly sensible to set more aside for a rainy day with Brexit uncertainty still weighing on the economy".

"This underlines just how vital it is to secure a Brexit that delivers for jobs, and an industrial strategy that helps transform United Kingdom productivity in all corners of the country", she said.

Hammond said the Treasury will launch a call for evidence to examine options on reducing single-use plastics, including taxes.

The new forecasts for net borrowing as a percentage of GDP are 1.8% for 2018/19, 1.6% for 2019/20, 1.3% for 2020/21, 1.1% for 2021/22 and 0.9% for 2022/23.

The country's official budget forecasters now expect gross domestic product will grow by 1.5 percent in 2018, compared with a forecast of 1.4 percent made in November. Wages of the lowest paid are up by nearly 7%, he added.

The budget statement is also tipped to include improved economic growth and borrowing forecasts.

In order to facilitate a shift away from plastics, Hammond will also announce a support fund of £20 million for businesses and universities investing in research around alternatives to single-use plastics.

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