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Hammond warns over Brexit complacency as he scraps Osborne's goal of a fiscal surplus by 2020

Mark Sands
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Speaking on the second day of the Tory party conference in Brighton Hammond also extended an existing EU funding guarantee to businesses
Speaking on the second day of the Tory party conference in Brighton Hammond also extended an existing EU funding guarantee to businesses (Source: Getty)

Chancellor Philip Hammond has warned against complacency in the aftermath of Brexit, despite acknowledging better than expected performance.

Speaking at the Conservative party conference today, Hammond scrapped his predecessor George Osborne’s goal of a fiscal surplus by 2020, but maintained fiscal consolidation would continue.

Hammond said he would lay out his own plans in detail at the Autumn Statement on November 23, but the chancellor also warned of oncoming turbulence.

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“The markets have calmed since the referendum vote, and many of the recent data have been better than expected. That is the clearest demonstration of the underlying strength of our economy, but there is no room for complacency,” Hammond said, adding that he would not be able to answer questions from businesses on the future after Brexit.

“Many businesses which trade with the EU are uncertain about what lies ahead. They have understandable questions about the process of the negotiations.

“About the deal that will be done, about the changes they will have to make to adapt to the post-Brexit world, and about what it will all mean for their employees, their company, their business model.

“I understand their concerns: business hates uncertainty,” he said, vowing to fight for “the best possible deal” for British businesses and workers.

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The chancellor also extended an existing EU funding guarantee to businesses. Previously, the Treasury had only offered to replace EU funding for projects approved up until the Autumn Statement.

However, he said today that businesses securing multi-year EU funding up until Brexit would also be supported.

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