Brexit Briefing: UK Chancellor Hammond Says Talks Must Be Accelerated

Jeremy Corbyn

GETTYThe Labour leader drew crowds during the general election campaign

Business leaders today accused Philip Hammond, the chancellor, of doing too little to revive the UK's faltering economy and being "strong on diagnosis but weak on action".

"While no-one suggests a market economy is flawless, it is the best system yet designed for making people steadily better off over time and underpinning strong and sustainable public services for everyone".

It came after the Prime Minister announced that, among a number of new measures aimed at winning over young voters, tuition fees would be capped at £9,250 for those stating university 2018-19, and that the repayment threshold would be raised to salaries of £25,000 and over.

Last week Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn set out plans for a much more active role for the state in the economy, including renationalization of key infrastructure, higher government spending, and more taxation and control of the banking sector. "Every country except North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and Zimbabwe has adopted that system. It's a wicked and cynical business offering superficially simple solutions to complex challenges".

The chancellor will contrast his vision for the economy with that of his Labour counterpart, John McDonnell. He reiterated a pledge to nationalize railways and utility companies, and talked openly about preparing for a run on the pound when Labour comes to power.

Hammond said the party's popularity was based on "preying on people's worries, manipulating their fears, luring them with false promises ..."

Business groups welcomed Hammond's defense of free markets, but said the government needed to do much more.

The chancellor told British Chambers of Commerce Director-General Adam Marshall that while he understood businesses' need for clarity over Brexit, they should in turn do their bit to help him show that's precisely what is holding investment back.

Asked about whether Johnson can be dismissed by Prime Minister Theresa May for his perceived intransigence on Brexit, Hammond said: "I always operate on the principle that everybody is sackable".

Ms Davidson told a Social Market Foundation fringe meeting at the Tory Party conference: 'What we have to be is we have to show them they have every opportunity and there's nothing going to stop them from doing that.

Hammond will also confirm a 300 million-pound ($400 million) investment to connect cities to the planned HS2 high-speed rail route, reducing travel times between centers such as Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, York and Leicester.

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