Hammond plots more austerity to build fund to cope with Brexit 'challenge'

"That performance gives us a strong base on which to build our plan for a truly global Britain", Xinhua news agency quoted Hammond as saying. "We need to maintain our commitment to fiscal discipline and to strengthen our economic position as we forge our vision of Britain's future in the world", he added.

Speaking to the BBC he said Britain would "do whatever we need to do" to be competitive in the event of quitting Brussels without a trade agreement.

Although May has pledged to trigger Article 50 by the end of March, she could start the process as early as the middle of the month.

"We're about to enter into a negotiation".

"If your bank increases your credit card limit, I don't think you feel obliged to go out and spend every last penny of it immediately".

He also warned that the British negotiators "expect to be able to achieve a comprehensive free trade deal with our European Union partners, but they should know that the alternative isn't Britain just slinking away into a corner".

In the article Hammond said it would be reckless to turn on the spending taps before Britain left the European Union in 2019.

"The PM has been clear - we are a nation that honours our obligations and if we do have any bills that fall to be paid we will obviously deal with him".

"We are a nation which abides by its worldwide obligations".

Speaking after a House of Lords report suggested the United Kingdom could walk away from the European Union without paying a so-called divorce bill if negotiations founder, the chancellor added he was unconvinced by some of the figures that have been mooted, but said the government would honour any obligations.

Earlier in the day, a report from the House of Lords financial affairs committee suggested the United Kingdom was in a strong legal position to walk away without paying anything if there is no deal. "So as we embark on the journey that we will be taking over the next couple of years, we are confident we have got enough gas in the tank to see us through that journey".

He had been called upon to make his tax affairs more transparent after his Labour opposite number John McDonnell had published his own.

"But this demonstration politics isn't helping to create a better atmosphere in British politics".

  • Zachary Reyes


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