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Britain faces Brexit 'rollercoaster,' UK finance minister says

The UK finance minister has warned of economic "turbulence" during Brexit negotiations. Prime Minister Theresa May has said she would trigger the formal process for Britain to leave the EU by the end of March next year.

Speaking ahead of his address to the Conservative Party conference on Monday, Treasury chief Philip Hammond said business and consumer confidence could go up and down "perhaps on a bit of a rollercoaster" during the long Brexit process.

"We must expect some turbulence as we go through this negotiating process and there will be a period of a couple of years of perhaps even longer when businesses are uncertain about the final state of our relationship with the European Union and during that period we need to support the economy," Hammond told the BBC.

He said he was in favor of getting a deal done "as soon as possible."

Article 50 date set

His remarks come a day after Prime Minister Theresa May set a date for triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty - which would begin a two-year process for divorcing the European Union.

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Brexit: Startup boost for Berlin?

On Monday, the pound currency fell to a three-year low against the euro and a three-month low against the dollar. The pound had plunged to a 31-year-old against the dollar shortly after June's "Brexit" referendum in which the UK voted in favor of leaving the European Union.

Britain needed a new fiscal plan to reflect its new circumstances and controls on public spending needed to be balanced with infrastructure investment, Hammond said.

"We need to keep the lid on day to day spending, we need to make the government more streamlined and efficient but I do think there is a case that we should look at very carefully for targeted high value investment in our economic infrastructure," he told the BBC.

se/kl (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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