So, we have the Spring Statement coming as Phillip Hammond is a fan of having two budgets a year, but not this one apparently!
The treasury has announced that we will have a stripped-down statement, no red box and no major tax or spending announcements.
The statement, due on March the 13th will involve economic forecasts and is not expected to have any major policy changes.
The previous system that Hammond adopted was to effectively have two budgets a year, so why has he changed his tack?
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond Mr Hammond signalled his approach to the spring statement when he announced his decision to shift the Budget to the autumn in 2016.
He said: “no other major economy makes hundreds of tax changes twice a year, and neither should we”.
“From 2018 there will be a Spring Statement, responding to the forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility, but no major fiscal event,” he said.
“If unexpected changes in the economy require it, then I will, of course, announce actions at the spring statement, but I won’t make significant changes twice a year just for the sake of it”
So why do I really think he is doing this? Maybe because we have enough on our plate now. There has been a lot of political activity recently, Brexit vote, snap general election, local elections etc. The word on the street is that the public are fed up with the constant change. As Brenda from Bristol famously said: “You’re joking? Not another one. There’s too much politics going on at the moment!”
There is uncertainty of how the Brexit strategy is going and the decision appears to have been made to leave well alone. We are unique in our budget/policy decisions taking place twice a year, as very few other countries adopt this method. Maybe this is a way of streamlining our tax changes and making it easier for people to understand if it changes less?
Or is this a giant cop out? A twenty-minute speech instead of a chance to boost the economy and give people a stronger opinion of our Brexit position. Easing on an already swamped HMRC as they must affect any tax changes as they are implemented.
Either way it looks like a non-event statement and a chance to stick with what we know!
Source, Press Association.
Wendy Devlin Dip CII, CeFA, CeMap (MP & ER)