Chancellor Philip Hammond is due to unveil his make or break Budget that will determine the future of the Tory government.
He's vowing to 'invest to secure a brighter future for Britain' with driverless cars and £1,000 pots for schools that have fallen behind.
We'll be bringing you all the latest Budget news and analysis throughout the day.
Watch Steve Rotheram tell ECHO readers what he makes of the budget and what it means for Liverpool
He isn’t overly impressed.
Drinker will raise a glass to this budget, apparently
CAMRA’s National Chairman Colin Valentine said:
“Pub goers were fearing the worst from this Budget but will now be raising a glass. Freezing beer duty will help arrest rising beer prices and keep the British pub going tradition affordable. I will be celebrating this decision in my local this evening and I hope millions of beer lovers across the country will be doing the same. Now, to make a real, lasting difference we hope that this move represents the first step towards a long-term freeze. CAMRA is calling on brewers to match the Chancellor’s support by holding beer prices so that local pub goers benefit.”
The Chancellor also agreed to extend the £1,000 business rate relief to most pubs in England.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram says budget was "missed opportunity"
“Last week I set out a vision for the future of our City Region and a series of key asks from Government. I therefore welcome the positive announcements of £134 million for transport in our City Region along with our share of the £28 million Housing First allocation to tackle homelessness.
“I also welcome The Chancellor’s commitment to working with us to explore further devolved powers to the City Region.”“However, I am disappointed that other key asks including greater local control of the apprenticeship levy have not been granted, and there is still no commitment to the potentially transformational Crossrail for the North.
“On balance it is Budget of missed opportunities. He could have done so much more to support economic rebalancing, stimulate growth and revive our cash-strapped public services.”
“We were promised a game changing budget, but in reality he is failing to lay the foundations for a stronger and fairer country for all.”
Budget leaves public sector workers out in the cold, says TUC
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“The Chancellor had almost nothing to say to hard-working public servants, who are facing a real pay cut for the eighth year in a row.
“Public sector workers are a team. The Chancellor has raised hopes in the NHS, but has left other public sector workers out in the cold.
“The Chancellor should have done the right thing, and properly funded a real pay rise across the public sector.”
Liverpool MP slams budget as "uncaring"
Riverside Labour MP Louise Ellman said:
“Families will still be struggling to make ends meet and universal credit will put many into debt.“Social care is still not properly funded and many people will not get the help they need.
“Education cuts have not been addressed and schools will struggle to meet rising costs.
“This was an uncaring Budget which will hit hard the most vulnerable – struggling families, students and the elderly.”
Not everyone is happy about the stamp duty change
Lea Karasavvas, managing director of Prolific Mortgage Finance, said:
“Primary school children have taken a Stamp Duty bullet so millennials can get on the housing ladder.“It is uncharacteristic of the Chancellor to kick the can down the road like this, given how much he has stressed in the past the importance of not saddling future generations with the cost of solving society’s current problems.“The whole point of the housing crisis is that demand is too high relative to supply. Fiddling with the economic stop cock by effectively handing out free money only exacerbates the problem and won’t help buyers, brokers, lenders or sellers in the long run.
“Businesses and markets function best when they’re not caught in a boom-and-bust cycle and that’s what we’re all stuck with.”
Corbyn says Universal Credit u-turn not good enough
Jeremy Corbyn has slammed the U-turn on Universal Credit.
“Wouldn’t it have been better to pause the whole thing and look at the problems it has caused?” he said
“The Chancellor’s solution to a failing system causing more debt is to offer a loan.
“And the six week wait, with 20% waiting even longer, simply becomes a five-week wait.
“This system has been run down by £3billion of cuts to work allowances.”
"The reality is a lot of people will be no better off" says Corbyn
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is on his feet responding to Philip Hammond’s budget
“As the days go ahead and this Budget unravels, the reality will be a lot of people will be no better off and the misery will be continuing.”“It’s a record of failure - with a forecast of more to come.
“What sort of a strong economy is that? What sort of ‘fit for the future’ is that?”
“It’s falling pay, slow growth, and rising poverty - and this is what the Chancellor has a cheek to call a strong economy?”
“So much for tackling burning injustices - this is a government tossing fuel on the fire.”
Tories abolish Stamp Duty for first time buyers
Stamp Duty will be abolished for all first-time buyers of homes worth up to £300,000.
And the discount will be available on the first £300,000 of properties worth up to £500,000, to help first time-buyers in London.
The Chancellor says this means there will be “no stamp duty at all for 80% of first time buyers from today.”
Maximum saving to buyers will be a whopping £5,000.
95% of all first time buyers will see a reduction according to the Chancellor.
Government unveils a dozen changes to build 300,000 homes a year
“House prices are increasingly out of reach for many,” says the Chancellor.
“Successive governments over generations” have failed, he says. But then he rattles off the Tories’ apparent achievements, to Labour anger.
And he warns: “More money will simply inflate prices and make matters worse”.
Housebuilding millionaire Mr Hammond says we must not be “dependent” on the huge housebuilders that “dominate the industry”.
So there will be a total of at least £44billion of capital funding, loans and guarantees to support the housing market.
The aim of this is to build 300,000 net additional homes a year on average by the mid-2020
- New money for the homebuilders fund
- £630million small sites fund
- £1.1billion to unlock strategic sites.
- Lifting of revenue caps for councils in high-demand areas to get them building - something they’ve long demanded
- Providing another £34m to develop construction skills across the country
Council tax hike on empty homes
The government will allow councils to put a 100% council tax premium on empty properties
No pay rise for NHS staff - yet
NHS staff will not be getting a pay rise.
Instead Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will open talk with health unions about increasing pay.
“If the talks bear fruit,” Mr Hammond says, he will provide “additional funding for such a settlement.”
NHS gets emergency cash - but less than it said it needed
Chancellor announces £2.8billion of emergency NHS cash to help hospitals struggle through the winter.
But NHS England boss Simon Stevens has asked for £4billion.
There will be another £10billion of capital investment in frontline services by 2022 - to support Sustainability and Transformation Plans.
You can now earn more before paying income tax
- The income tax personal allowance - the amount you can earn before paying tax - will rise from £11,500 to £11,850
- And the amount you can earn before paying the 40% tax band will rise from £45,000 to £46,350
Beer and fuel duty FROZEN but cigarettes to get more expensive
This from our friends at Mirror Politics means it is good news for people who fancy a tipple at Christmas.
The tobacco duty escalator will increase at a standard inflation rate plus 2%.
There is an extra 1% rise for hand rolling tobacco.
But fuel duty AND wine, spirits, and beer duty will all be frozen.
The Chancellor says a bottle of whisky is now £1.15 less in 2018 “than if we’d continued with Labour’s plans”.
He adds: “Merry Christmas, Mr Deputy Speaker!”
Minimum Wage workers could earn £600 more a year
The minimum wage for over-25s will rise by 4.4% from £7.50 an hour to £7.83 from April.
The Chancellor says the total pay rise since the higher rate’s introduction will now be over £2,000 a year.
Pay will also go up for under-25s, in line with recommendations from low pay watchdogs.
Chancellor announces £1.5 BILLION u-turn on Universal Credit
The Chancellor has defended Universal Credit saying it is a “long overdue and necessary reform replacing Labour’s broken system”.
He add “But I recognise genuine concerns on both sides of the House.”
The 7-day waiting period applied at the beginning of a claim will be removed and the advances system will be changed to ensure a month’s payment is available on loan, not half a month.
Those on housing benefit will get an additional two weeks buffer so they don’t end up in arrears.
Chancellor pledges investment for schools to teach maths
“More maths for everyone,” Mr Hammond says. “Don’t let anyone say I don’t know how to show the nation a good time!”
The Chancellor announces a new £20million fund to allow colleges to prepare for technical ‘T-levels’.
The Teaching for Mastery of Maths programme will be expanded to thousands more schools.
And there will be a £600 for every school per pupil they get doing maths A-level.
Diesel cars will be charged to create clean air fund
- Diesel car supplement in company car tax will increase by one percentage point
- But there will be ways for individuals to avoid this. “No white van man, no white van woman will be hit by these measures” he says
- Levy will fund a new £220million clean air fund
Chancellor announces more support for electric and driverless cars
“I know Jeremy Clarkson doesn’t like them, but that isn’t a reason not to pursue this technology,” says Hammond.
“It isn’t the first time he has been snubbed by Hammond and May.”
Economic growth will slow as Britain leaves the EU, Chancellor confirms
The Office of Budget Responsibility has downgraded its forecast for growth in next 5 years .
When Britain leaves the EU in 2019 it will drop to its lowest levels, with the economy growing at just 1.3%
Britain’s productivity “continues to disappoint”, Philip Hammond says. It has “remained stubbornly flat”.
So the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has revised DOWN growth forecasts - badly.
Here are how the predictions back in March (left) compare to the ones today (right).
2.0% in 2017 - now 1.5% - DOWN
1.6% in 2018 - now 1.4% - DOWN
1.7% in 2019 - now 1.3% - DOWN
1.9% in 2020 - now 1.3% - DOWN
2.0% in 2021 - now 1.5% - DOWN
in 2022 - now 1.6%
Chancellor forecasts unemployment to drop bellow one million
The OBR has forecast that 600,000 more people will be in work at the end of this budget period.
This would take the number of unemployed people in the UK below one million.
Hammond turns down a tipple but he did bring cough sweets
Wesminster tradition dictates that the Budget is the only time alcohol is allowed in the chamber of the House of Commons.
Benjamin Disraeli is said to have had a brandy with water as his despatch box tipple.
Not Philip Hammond: “I’ll stick to water.”
In a cutting jibe about Theresa May’s coughing fits at Tory Party Conference he adds: “I have asked my honourable friend to bring cough sweets to the chamber”.
Hammond announces £3billion for Brexit prep
Brexit positivity early from Philip Hammond as he starts the Budget. He says the UK’s future outside of the EU will be “full of new opportunities” to cheers on the Tory benches.
He outlines that he is setting aside £3billion to steer the economy through leaving the EU.
“We face a choice, either we embrace the future...or as the party opposite adcovate, we reject change and turn inward to the failed and irrelebvant dogmas of the past.
“We choose the future.”
Looks like Philip Hammond might be making some last minute changes
Corbyn attacks May on the Brexit
Jeremy Corbyn is using his pre-budget PMQs to quiz the Prime Minister on Brexit and the Irish Border.
He slams the Tories for having what he calls a lack of answers on the Northern Ireland border after 17 months.
And he says Tory MP John Redwood, a financial advisor, advised firms to take their money elsewhere. “Does she agree with him?”.
Theresa May rejects his claim she is failing to engage properly in negotiations with the EU.
But people in the EU have no idea where this is going, he says.
The government’s offered free movement to bankers after Brexit - what about doctors, scientists and so on?
Theresa May accuses him of “borrowing” his question from the Lib Dems from only last week.”
Budget pledge to 'end homelessness' 2027
The Chancellor has promised to make Britain “fit for the future”, vowing to end homelessness on the streets of Britain by 2027.
According to the London Evening Standard the Budget will commit £20 million to a new Homelessness Reduction Taskforce will be launched, aiming to halve the number of rough sleepers by 2022 and reduce it to zero by 2027.
MP warns of “catastrophic” effect of drug laws that are “plainly failing”
The first question at PMQs is from Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire.
She tells of a BBC documentary showing the “catastrophic” effect of drug laws that are “plainly failing”.
But Theresa May says people die as a result of drug use and that’s why the government has launched the strategy it has.
Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May face off in PMQs ahead of the budget
It is almost budget time - but before the Chancellor gets to his feet Theresa May will face her usual cross examination from the Labour Leader.