Tuesday 19 March 2019

UK Chancellor warns of job losses, rising prices

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond (PA)
British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond (PA)

David Hughes

Britain faces higher unemployment and rising prices unless a Brexit deal is agreed to lift the cloud hanging over the economy, UK Chancellor Philip Hammond has warned.

He used his spring statement to urge MPs to back a Brexit agreement after British economic growth was slashed to 1.2pc from the 1.6pc that was forecast last October.

Delivering his statement after MPs emphatically rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal for a second time on Tuesday night, Mr Hammond said the issue was "damaging our standing and reputation in the world".

He warned: "Leaving with no deal would mean significant disruption in the short and medium-term and a smaller, less prosperous economy in the long-term than if we leave with a deal.

"Higher unemployment; lower wages; higher prices in the shops. That is not what the British people voted for in June 2016."

Mr Hammond warned economic progress would be put at risk unless MPs took the threat of an imminent no-deal Brexit off the table in last night's vote.

In an impassioned statement he said: "Our economy is fundamentally robust. But the uncertainty that I hoped we would lift last night, still hangs over us."

Irish Independent

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