British Prime Minister Theresa May has promised a Budget to make Britain "fit for the future", after Chancellor Philip Hammond briefed Cabinet on his plans.

Mr Hammond addressed senior colleagues at the early-morning gathering at 10 Downing Street ahead of his second Budget statement of 2017.

He is expected to announce moves to boost house-building and invest in infrastructure in a strong signal that he is ready to start bringing down the curtain on the age of austerity.

In a tweet issued after the Cabinet meeting, Mrs May said: "The Cabinet met this morning to discuss Budget 2017, which Philip Hammond will deliver later today - setting out how my Government is building a Britain fit for the future."

Mr Hammond's room for manoeuvre has been limited by surprise figures showing that state borrowing jumped to £8 billion last month, adding to pressure from the Office for Budget Responsibility's expected downgrade of productivity projections.

As part of the effort to boost the country's skills to improve long-term productivity, the Chancellor will set out a £177 million plan to give schools and sixth forms in England £600 for every additional student taking A-level maths or core maths qualifications.

A £42 million fund will also support £1,000 of training for every teacher in selected schools in areas that have "fallen behind".

The director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Paul Johnson, said Mr Hammond was caught "between a rock and a hard place" and may be forced to abandon his target of balancing the nation's books by the middle of the next decade.

Meanwhile, Labour was demanding large-scale investment in infrastructure to boost "sluggish" manufacturing industry, along with new cash for the public services, a major house-building programme and a pause in the Government's flagship Universal Credit welfare reform.

As he finalised preparations for his second Budget statement, Mr Hammond sought to damp down expectation of a full-blown turn away from the austerity agenda which has dominated economic policy for seven years, insisting his package would be "balanced".

But addressing MPs in the House of Commons, he will leave no doubt that increased investment is at the heart of his programme.

"In this Budget, we express our resolve to look forwards, to embrace change, to meet our challenges head on, and to seize the opportunities for Britain," he is expected to say.