Philip Hammond says it'd be irresponsible to budget for no deal Brexit now

Former Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond Meets Troops in Afghanistan

The chancellor has said it will not be responsible to spend in preparation for a "no deal" scenario from the European Union now, and that the government is working to remove uncertainty troubling businesses.

Writing in the Times, Philip Hammond said he needs to ensure "that we are prepared for all outcomes, including a no deal scenario".

He added:

The government and the Treasury are prepared. We are planning for every outcome and we will find any necessary funding and we will only spend it when it's responsible to do so.

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Hammond noted uncertainty as the main challenge "impacting businesses up and down the country" with investment slowing as firms wait for detail about access to markets, goods, labour and services.

The chancellor said the immediate priority was to remove the uncertainty through "securing agreement on a time-limited implementation period" and "by reaching a deal on the terms of our future long-term relationship with the EU".

Hammond said it was his duty to be realistic about the challenges and complexities as Britain leaves the bloc and to "carefully navigate the economy through the process in a way that protects our jobs, supports our businesses, underpins the prosperity of working families, and secures our public finances for decades to come".

His comments come after the Prime Minister yesterday refused to be drawn on whether she would vote for Brexit now. Theresa May initially brushed the question off as "hypothetical", but when pushed said: "What I did last time was I looked around at everything and came to a conclusion and I would do exactly the same again this time round."

Speaking on LBC Radio, May repeated that she was "going to deliver Brexit for the British people".

The PM this week said the government had plans for a Brexit outcome without a trade deal.

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Full story: Philip Hammond says it'd be irresponsible to budget for no deal Brexit now: City A.M.