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More grammars? Council cash for social care? A Lower Thames Crossing decision? What can Kent expect in Philip Hammond’s Spring Budget?

PUBLISHED: 11:22 08 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:22 08 March 2017

Chancellor Philip Hammond. (Photo by Carl Court - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Chancellor Philip Hammond. (Photo by Carl Court - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

2017 Getty Images

The chancellor’s plans are expected to include help for companies facing hikes in their business rates, as well as additional money for social care, schools and science

All eyes will be on the House of Commons this afternoon as Philip Hammond reveals details of his first Spring Budget.

Businesses and councils chiefs across Kent are awaiting details of the chancellor’s plans, which are expected to include help for companies facing hikes in their business rates, as well as additional money for social care, schools and science.

But Mr Hammond will admit more austerity is in the pipeline, making clear he is ready to take further “difficult decisions” on tax hikes and spending cuts, despite acknowledging many voters are still feeling the pinch 10 years on from the financial crash of 2007/08.

Labour is putting pressure on the chancellor to provide additional money for the NHS after a winter of crisis in the service.

A local government settlement following Mr Hammond’s Autumn Statement back in November, appeared to do little to ease the pressure on Kent County Council and Medway Council, so bosses will be hoping for more cash to help with the social care crisis.

The chancellor has already announced more than half a billion pounds to be pumped into creating new free schools, including grammars, and refurbishing existing school buildings.

Some are also hoping for a decision to be made on the Lower Thames Crossing, earmarked for east of Gravesend, after bosses behind the London Paramount Resort project told us this week it was not reliant on a new crossing, but it would significantly help their ambitious plans for the Swanscombe Peninsula.

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson - a major campaigner in the bid for a crossing east of Gravesend, rather than in his constituency - has repeatedly said, however, that a decision would be made by the Department for Transport, rather than the Treasury.

This is despite former chancellor George Osborne announcing £250m of funding for a lorry park in Kent to tackle problems caused by Operation Stack back in 2015.

Stay tuned to Kent News for full coverage of the budget and reaction from around the county.

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