It was announced last week that Philip Hammond’s budget will take place on March 8th. It will be the Chancellor’s first budget but also the last ever fiscal event set to be held in the Spring.
It will not however be the first time that Mr Hammond has announced the government’s plans for the economy and the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts that they are based on.
In November, he delivered Autumn Statement 2016 – a tax and spending package widely considered to be fiercely ‘anti-contracting’ but also reformist in terms of future fiscal events.
In fact, Budget 2017 will be the final budget announcement to be made at springtime as future budgets – with the Government envisioning just one as year – to be held in the autumn.
HMRC explained their thinking stating: “It will mean businesses and people face less frequent changes to the tax system, helping to promote certainty and stability.”
However, there will still be a “second Budget” before the end of 2017, the Treasury added, ahead of the switch to the new timetable. In perhaps a mirror image of the current situation that timetable is set to include a “Spring Statement.”
Referring to what sounds pretty much like a mini-Budget (the Autumn Statement format that is being axed had morphed into the same ting), officials explained: “The OBR is required by law to produce two forecasts a year. One of these will remain at Budget. The other will fall in the spring and the government will respond to it with a Spring Statement.”
Despite the envisioned respite for taxpayers and businesses the government has said that it reserves the right to “make changes to fiscal policy at the Spring Statement if the economic circumstances require it.”