CHANCELLOR of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has said there is "light at the end of the tunnel" as he delivered his Spring Statement to the House of Commons today.

The Chancellor said the government is "rebuilding public finances" and has seen the "first sustained fall in debt in 17 years".

He said the UK's manufacturing sector has seen its longest unbroken run of growth "in 50 years", the wages of the lowest paid are up, and there has been "solid progress towards building an economy growing for everyone".

He added the OBR has raised its forecast for growth in 2018 from 1.4% to 1.5%.

Other standout figures from the statement included £190 million for high speed internet, £500 million a year for 'T-levels' in post-16 education, and £80 million of funding to support small businesses in engaging an apprentice, saying the Conservative government is "the party of small business and the champion of entrepreneurs".

Mr Hammond also said the Government has started the "largest road building programme since the 1970s" and has devolved powers for road-building in the Northern Powerhouse to elected mayors.

He concluded: "Our best days lie ahead of us. We want a country we can all be proud to hand on to our children."

However, Labour's Shadow Chancellor hit back at Mr Hammond, calling him "complacent".

John McDonnell said: "We face a crisis we have never seen before.

"He needs to listen to the public servants, they are telling him to act now but have been ignored by this government for eight years and are being ignored again now."

He said the OBR forecasts show the UK economy will "scrape along the bottom" and the UK's productivity gap between other G7 countries is "the widest it has ever been".

Mr McDonnell said regional imbalances still remain, "despite all the promises", with London receiving "five times more than Yorkshire and the Humber and the North", and criticised the government's work on investing in future technology and renewable energy.

He also criticised the Government's claims it had tackled the deficit.

"The Chancellor has not tackled the deficit, he has shifted it on to the public services his colleagues are responsible for.

"NHS Trusts will end the year £1 billion in deficit. How many people have to die waiting in an ambulance before he acts?"

He also criticised the Chancellor for cutting school budgets, reductions to the number of police officers and firefighters, cuts to the prison and probation service, cuts to Council budgets, and failure to tackle the homelessness crisis.

"This is not a government setting us up for the future," he said, "it is a government preparing us to fail."

 Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, said the statement was "very positive".

He said: "Economic growth and government finances were both better than envisaged, things are moving in the right direction.

"We just have to keep on the same path, it has been a long battle but because of the sacrifices people have made we are back on an even keel.

"Bradford has a great future, but it is largely in the district's own hands, creating the right conditions for people to invest.

"Obviously transport infrastructure will play a big part, but the future is bright for Bradford."

Labour's Bradford East MP Imran Hussain said: “This week the Chancellor had the opportunity to end almost 8 years of cuts and reverse the growing child poverty rate that means children are going hungry, life expectancies are lower, and educational outcomes are poorer.

"Instead, he chose not to act, did nothing to address stagnating wages and rising living costs, and turned a blind eye to the rampant and widening inequality across the country.”

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, leader of Bradford Council, added: “The Chancellor has shown no indication that he grasps the urgent need for sensible investment in our public services as we head towards a full decade of his government’s cuts.

"Just last month we saw a Tory-run council run out of money, meanwhile most people are simply not feeling like the economy is working for them with wages still lower than in 2010 in real terms.

"Here in Bradford we’ve been named in the top 10 most productive councils so we are using our shrinking resources wisely, but every Bradford resident has felt the impact of the Government cuts and they are tired of them.

"Together with other councils we’ve repeatedly called on government to provide more money for social care in particular, as there are rising numbers of children and adults who need support.

"The Chancellor talks of light at the end of a long tunnel. Too few people see that light at the moment.

"We’ll continue to take our case to government urging them to work with us to deliver the investment our residents deserve.”

Bradford People's Assembly has also criticised Mr Hammond's announcement.

A spokesperson for the BPA, said: "Todays budget statement gave nothing for the people of Bradford to smile about and it showed that Bradford will continue to suffer from the affects of the banking bail out.

"Phillip Hammond has faced pressure from Labour, the Office for Budget Responsibility and even many of the backbenchers in its own party to end austerity.

"It is one again a budget statement that shows that money will be spent on London and the south whilst cities like Bradford are left to rot and be forgotten about.

"We don’t need a Chancellor that thinks making false claims to be fixing the economy or making poor taste jobs – we need a chancellor who can fix the economy for everyone – especially for the families that are just about managing."