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    UK Chancellor Raises Brexit Funding to $2.5 Billion, Claims Austerity's No More

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    UK Treasury Chief pulled a few rabbits out of his hat when he delivered to the UK Parliament the last budget statement before Brexit.

    "It's clearly not sustainable, or fair, that digital platform businesses can generate substantial value in the UK without paying tax here in respect of that business," Hammond added. Philip Hammond announced that funding for government departments to prepare for Brexit would be increased to $2,5 billion (£2bn).

    "I have already allocated £2.2bn to departments for Brexit preparations. And in the Autumn Budget last year I set aside a further £1.5bn to be allocated in 2019-20. Today I am increasing that sum to £2bn," Hammond told the MPs.

    Following a decade of austerity-led policies, Hammond promised a new chapter in Britain's economic history and reported that "the era of austerity is finally coming to an end."

    Addressing the House of Common, the Chancellor said that British gross domestic product growth would expand by 1.6 percent in 2019, up from an official prediction of 1.3 percent made seven months ago.

    Hammond was expected to announce investment in the National Health Service (NHS), a public service highly valued in the British society.

    The government will increase mental health funding by more than $2.5 billion a year by 2023-24 and a further $832 million (£650m) for social care funding next year.

    Defense

    The UK is second biggest contributor to NATO defense budget after the United States, Hammond noted, followed by an announcement of $1.2 billion funding to the Ministry of Defense.

    The Chancellor committed to spend an additional $204 million (£160mln) on counter terrorism police funding for 2019-20.

    Digital Services Tax

    Expected to come into effect in April 2020 and generate $512 million 400 million pounds a year, the digital service tax will see global giants, like Google, Amazon and Facebook, "pay their fair share towards supporting" British public services. 

    "I am already looking forward to my call from the former leader of the Liberal Democrats," Hammond continued to say, referring to Nick Clegg's new position as Facebook's communications chief.

    READ MORE: UK Ex-Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg ‘Delighted' to Join Facebook Team

    "It's clearly not sustainable, or fair, that digital platform businesses can generate substantial value in the UK without paying tax here in respect of that business," Hammond added. 

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    budget, Philip Hammond, United Kingdom
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