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Hammond denies borrowing is out of control “it’s just much much larger than we would like it to be & getting larger every day, like my piles”

Hammond denies borrowing is out of control

Telegraph 24 Nov 2016

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Philip Hammond has denied that borrowing is out of control as he said the Autumn Statement was designed to deal with a possible economic slowdown next year.

Asked about spiralling debt levels, Mr Hammond told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s not out of control, it’s larger than we would like it to be.

“We should have a plan which both invests in our economy … but also puts a little aside for the possibility of a slightly more rainy day next and the year after, as the OBR forecasts suggest.

He added that the Government was preparing for “very challenging fiscal circumstances”.

“We should certainly not ignore it but look at it as one of the possible ranges of outcomes we need to plan for, we should note what it says about the strength of our economy, and the OBR has upgraded its forecast for our economic growth this year,” he said.

“We are looking at a range of possible outcomes and preparing for a range of possible outcomes. That’s the prudent thing to do.

“There’s uncertainty around the future course of policy in the US, uncertainty about global trade, uncertainty about the growth rate of the Chinese economy.

“The OBR itself would say that there is a wide range of uncertainty around its central forecast. It isn’t only the uncertainty around Brexit negotiations. There are many factors which are causing uncertainty in economic forecasting at the moment.”

Speaking during a visit to Gloucestershire, Mr Hammond said he had tried to use the Autumn Statement to prepare the economy “for as wide a range of outcomes as I possibly can” after the Brexit vote – including a possible downturn next year.

“To me it makes sense, given the warning signals from the OBR report, to keep a little bit of firepower in the locker, to build a little bit of a reserve so that if there is a slowdown next year, we’ve got enough capacity to support the economy, to protect jobs, to ensure that the economy can get through any headwinds it encounters,” he told Sky News’s Sunrise.

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