Watford MP Richard Harrington praised today’s Autumn Statement, saying he was proud that it helped "ordinary working families”.

Chancellor Philip Hammond’s first major financial statement laid bare the scale of economic uncertainty caused by Brexit, commenting the fiscal slowdown was due to "lower investment and weaker consumer demand, driven, respectively, by greater uncertainty and by higher inflation resulting from sterling depreciation".

Stating his main goal was to get the economy "match fit" for the "new chapter" ahead, Mr Hammond unveiled a series of plans aimed at boosting productivity and helping low-income workers.

Watford Observer:

The Chancellor confirmed a freeze in fuel duty, a rise in the so-called National Living Wage and measures to ease cuts to Universal Credit.

Mr Harrington said the statement would “help ordinary working families and support our economy as we leave the EU”.

“I am particularly proud that taxes on hardworking families will be reduced again, that the National Living Wage will rise again in April, and fuel duty will be frozen again,” he added.

“There is also more support to help people as they move from out-of-work benefits into work.

“On top of this, there is support for renters and those who would like to buy their own homes through house building, and ban unfair tenants’ fees from letting agents.”

But Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said the Autumn Statement placed on record the "abject failure of the last six years".

Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, criticised the Chancellor for ignoring important issues in social care.

“Yet again the Chancellor has ignored social care. In doing so the Government needs to be prepared for the detrimental impact on families, local economies and the NHS,” he said.

“Social care needs to be a priority, indeed in some regions it is a huge employer and stability is crucial for those in receipt of care and those in its employment”.

“Unfortunately the lack of investment in social care spells disaster in the NHS and potentially a perpetual winter”.

The Office for Budget Responsibility slashed growth forecasts for next year and predicted higher than previously expected borrowing, forcing Mr Hammond to confirm he was abandoning predecessor George Osborne's plan to achieve a budget surplus.

Rajiv Nathwani, director and founder of Bushey-based Quivira Capital, commented on the statement, said the Chancellor's announcement of a £1.4 billion injection to delivery 40,000 new affordable homes was disappointing.

"This comes as a disappointment to many of us in the industry, as it falls short of the proposed sum of £5 billion to deal with Britain’s housing shortage. For decades, house building in the UK has been at an all-time low with the number of homes built fallen to its lowest peacetime level since 1924," he said.

"For small developers looking to get their housing projects off the ground and into the market – how does the new fund really help us achieve this? When will they start seeing the funding? What's the time frame from the Government?

"How soon can the fund translate into land purchases where they can start building work? These are all areas that needs addressing from the Government to put confidence back into small developers to move forward and start creating homes for a generation that desperately needs it."