08 Mar 2017Chancellor Philip Hammond will deliver his first Budget speech today at 12:30pm. We will be keeping you up-to-date on the key Budget announcements, and will be supplying a full summary which will appear on the site tomorrow morning. With new business rates set to come into effect on 1 April, business groups and MPs have continued to lobby the Chancellor regarding the controversial changes. In his Budget speech, the Chancellor is expected to announce additional support for those facing significantly higher rates. Commenting on the issue, Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said that the government intends to ‘determine how best to provide further support to businesses facing the steepest increases’. Meanwhile, with Prime Minister Theresa May intending to trigger Article 50 by the end of March, many expect Mr Hammond to deliver an ‘upbeat’ speech, in which he will pledge to help prepare the UK for a ‘new chapter’ in its history following Brexit. The Treasury revealed that the Chancellor will focus on beginning to build the ‘foundations of a stronger, fairer, better Britain, outside the EU’. It also suggested that the Chancellor will acknowledge that many families are ‘still feeling the pinch’ from the 2008 financial crash, and that the government will promise to do ‘everything it can to help ordinary families to get on’. Ahead of the Chancellor’s Budget speech, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) upgraded its forecast for the UK’s economic growth for 2017 from 1.2% to 1.6%. However, it also warned that rising inflation could weigh heavily on the cost of living.