Philip Hammond has signalled an end to austerity this morning, ahead of his Spring Statement this week.
The chancellor has said there is "light at the end of the tunnel", but that the government will continue to take a balanced approach to spending.
Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, Hammond said: "There is light at the end of the tunnel because what we are about to see is debt starting to fall after it's been growing for 17 continuous years.
"That's a very important moment for us, but we are still in the tunnel at the moment, we have to get debt down, we've got all sorts of other things we want to do, we've taken a balanced approach over the last couple of fiscal events, using flexibility that we had to continue paying down debt but also to provide additional support to our public services, to invest in Britain's future and to reduce taxes for families and small businesses who are feeling the pressure."
On Tuesday, Hammond will deliver his Spring Statement. It will comprise economic forecasts from the Office for Budgetary Responsibility, but Hammond has said there will be no major policy announcements.