Key figures from the UK Budget

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond (centre) leaving his official residence with the Budget Box before presenting the government's annual budget to Parliament on Nov 22, 2017.
British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond (centre) leaving his official residence with the Budget Box before presenting the government's annual budget to Parliament on Nov 22, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - UK Finance Minister Philip Hammond delivered his Budget to Parliament on Wednesday (Nov 22), announcing his intention to "build a Britain fit for the future" despite slashing government growth forecasts.

Here are some stand-out figures from his speech.

BREXIT: A £3-billion (S$5.4-billion) pot will be put aside over the next two years to prepare for Britain's exit from the European Union, in addition to an existing £700 million.

GROWTH: The UK economy is set to slow to a growth of 1.4 per cent in 2018, down from a previous government forecast of 1.6 per cent given in March. Growth forecasts were slashed for every year until 2021.

INVESTMENT: Spending on science and innovation, aimed at turbo-charging low productivity, will receive a £2.3-billion boost - though not until 2021-22.

"The Chancellor (of the Exchequer Hammond) has recognised the valuable role for innovation and technology to tackle the UK's productivity problem," commented Carolyn Fairbairn, head of the CBI, Britain's largest business lobby group.

PRODUCTIVITY: Estimates of output produced per hour were downgraded by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) fiscal watchdog, causing Hammond to say that productivity performance "continues to disappoint".

Extra borrowing caused by lower productivity is likely to cost the government £90 billion by 2021, noted OBR chairman Robert Cote.

HOUSING TAX: First-time buyers of homes under £300,000 will be permanently exempt from a one off property tax called stamp duty, in an effort to help young people get onto the housing ladder.

However the Office for Budget Responsibility fiscal watchdog said it expects savings for buyers to be matched by an equivalent increase in property prices.

NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE: Hammond pledged £2.8 billion of one-off spending, falling short of the £4.0 billion demanded for this year by NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens.