Chancellor Philip Hammond has been urged to abandon his “disastrous austerity agenda” as he prepares to deliver his Spring Statement to MPs.
Mr Hammond is expected to set out plans for a £200 million investment in cutting-edge scientific research, as well as a series of new ways to protect the environment when he addresses the Commons on Wednesday afternoon.
The Treasury insist the statement is no longer a “fiscal event” after Mr Hammond shifted the Budget from its traditional springtime slot to the autumn. It is not, therefore, expected to contain major spending announcements or tax changes.
But ahead of the statement, shadow chancellor John McDonnell urged him to end Government cuts.
Mr McDonnell said: “Living standards have been squeezed by relentless cutbacks to public services, as part of a toxic Tory cocktail of callousness and incompetence.
“Philip Hammond must abandon this disastrous austerity agenda of the past nine years.
“Labour will tax the rich and giant corporations to end austerity, fund our public services properly, and rebuild our economy so it works for the many, not the few.”
All eyes will be on the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecasts for the deficit, debt, GDP and productivity.
The OBR’s economic and fiscal outlook is expected to include medium-term forecasts for the UK economy and public finances, as well as an assessment of whether the Government is likely to meet its medium-term objectives.
Mr Hammond’s statement will follow Prime Minister’s Questions and come ahead of a debate on a no-deal Brexit.