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PIG TODAY-Budget 2017: £2bn for social care and tax rise for self-employed

Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced an extra £2bn for under-pressure social care services in England in the Budget.

Mr Hammond also promised to help firms hit by business rate rises - but increased national insurance bills for many self-employed people.

On the economy he said growth was expected to be higher - and borrowing lower - than forecast in November.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it was "a Budget of utter complacency about the state of our economy".

  • Budget Live: Rolling text and video coverage
  • At-a-glance summary: Budget key points
  • Analysis: 'Spreadsheet Phil's' cautionary tale
  • 10 charts that show what’s gone wrong with social care

The government has been under pressure to offer more resources for social care budgets, with the Local Government Association warning the entire system stands on the "brink of collapse" without an immediate cash injection and a commitment to a long-term solution.

Mr Hammond acknowledged the system was under pressure with an ageing population, and said the new £2bn for services in England would allow councils to "act now to commission new care packages".

He also said the government would set out the options for long-term funding of the social care system later in the year - although these would not include a "death tax".

Other announcements included:

  • An extra £325m for NHS reform programmes
  • Transport spending of £90m for the north of England and £23m for the Midlands to address "pinch points" on roads
  • £270m for maintenance of existing schools
  • Extending free transport to all free school meals pupils who attend selective schools
  • No change to previously-planned upratings of duties on alcohol and tobacco
  • Additional funding of £350m for the Scottish government, £200m for the Welsh government and almost £120m for the Northern Ireland Executive

It is expected to be the last Budget before the UK formally gives notice of its departure from the EU.

Opening his statement, Mr Hammond said although the UK economy "continued to confound the commentators with robust growth", the UK's deficit was still high, and productivity "stubbornly low".

He said the Office for Budget Responsibility had revised up its growth forecasts from 1.4% to 2% for 2017, and that borrowing would be £16.8bn lower than previously forecast.

Source:bbc.com

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