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Budget 2017: Hammond's 'upbeat' message over Brexit future



Chancellor Philip Hammond will use his first Budget to help prepare Britain for a "new chapter" in its history after Brexit, the Treasury has said.
In an "upbeat" speech, he is expected to say the economy has proved resilient since the referendum but admit that many families are "feeling the pinch".
Extra money is expected for social care in England and to help firms facing steep business rate rises.
Labour demanded a break from the Tories' "failed economic policies".
With the public finances proving stronger in recent months than expected, and defying forecasts of a post-EU referendum downturn, economists say the chancellor has more room for manoeuvre than he might have expected at the time of last November's Autumn Statement.
Several spending announcements have been made ahead of the Budget statement, which begins at about 12:30 GMT in the House of Commons after Prime Minister's Questions.
These include:
A £5m fund to mark the centenary of female suffrage next year
An extra £500m for vocational and technical education in England
A one-off £320m for 140 new schools in England, which could include grammars
Measures to protect people who inadvertently end up subscribing for services after signing up for free trials
Plans aimed at helping the North sea oil and gas industry
£500m support for electric vehicles, robotics and artificial intelligence
But Mr Hammond has distanced himself from talk of wider giveaways, stressing the need for the UK to reduce borrowing in the long term and to ensure the country is prepared for future global economic uncertainty and any short-term turbulence arising from its withdrawal from the EU. The Treasury said Mr Hammond would give an "upbeat assessment" of the UK's economic prospects and offer a "positive backdrop ahead of the start of new chapter for the country outside of the EU".
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It suggested the chancellor's focus would be on equipping the UK to meet the challenges of a "rapidly changing economy" by ensuring every child could go to a good school and get the qualifications and skills they needed.
"He will say that in building the foundations of a stronger, fairer, better Britain, outside the EU - the government understands the concerns of those who worry about their children's ability to access the opportunities they themselves enjoyed," it said.
"He will go on to say he knows that many are still feeling the pinch, almost 10 years on from the financial crash and that the government will do everything it can to help ordinary working families to get on."