LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister Philip Hammond spoke to the Treasury Committee in parliament on Wednesday. Below are highlights from the question-and-answer session.
“I am clear that we have to be prepared for a no-deal scenario unless and until we have clear evidence that that is not where we will end up. What I am not proposing to do is to allocate funds to departments in advance of the need to spend ... I don’t believe we should be in the business of making potentially nugatory expenditure until the very last moment when we need to do so.”
”The IMF report yesterday showed the UK figures for ‘17 and ‘18 unchanged from their July report. It’s true, that’s against the backdrop of increases that were posted for many other countries around the world.
“I think it reflects a sense that while the UK economy is fundamentally strong and in good shape, we are being affected by uncertainty around the negotiation process that we are engaged in at the moment. I think there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that businesses and consumers are waiting to see what the outcome is, or at least what the direction of travel is, before firming up investment decisions, consumption decisions.”
“My general view of our economy is that it is fundamentally robust. We have some very strong things going for us, a strong outlook for the future. But the cloud of uncertainty is a temporary damper and we need to remove it as soon as possible by making progress with the (Brexit) negotiation process.”
Reporting by UK bureau