FIRST AIRED: March 8, 2017

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Transcript

00:00:00
>> The British finance minister will deliver his budget plan on Wednesday, an announcement likely to be overshadowed by the imminent triggering of a divorce from the EU expected this month. On Tuesday, Chancellor Philip Hammond said he'd keep money back to see the economy through its looming separation challenge, thus signalling little room for extra spending.
00:00:21
Reuters UK correspondent, William James, is at Westminster.>> Finance minister Philip Hammond has set out that he wants this budget to be kind of a steady as she goes budget. No flashy announcements, no big spending commitments. And the reason for that is simple. It's Brexit, it's because he wants to build up this war chest, he's called it reserves in the tank.
00:00:41
In case, once Britain either starts the process of leaving the European Union or in two years' time when it actually comes to leaving the union, there is a huge amount of economic turbulence around that. And the government needs to step in and support industry, support the banks, support someone with money, they want to have enough financial reserves to be able to do that.
00:00:58
So at this stage, although he's had several windfalls and several pieces of good news, he's not cashing those in just yet. He's holding onto those chips, and he's waiting to see if he needs them for Brexit.>> As well as setting aside money to cushion Brexit's impact on the economy, Hammond has had to weigh up mixed signals.
00:01:15
Britain's coffers coped surprisingly well with the initial shock of Jean's referendum. As a result, the Chancellor's expected to announce a modest fall in the amount of money that Britain needs to borrow over the next five years. But two surveys on Tuesday showing shoppers are cutting back on buying non-essential items, potentially a worry for an economy where consumer spending is the big driver.