CHANCELLOR Philip Hammond is set to deliver this year’s Spring Statement on March 13 – just two weeks before Brexit.
The Spring Statement is the government’s public response to the forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
Getty – Contributor The Chancellor is set to deliver this year’s Spring Statement on March 13
Traditionally the Chancellor would make two big financial statements but Hammond changed the arrangement in 2016.
The government has said that changing the tax system once a year, rather than twice, will lead to greater financial stability.
Here is what we can expect from Philip Hammond when he takes to the despatch box.
When is the Spring Statement? What time does it start?
The Spring statement will take place on March 13, 2019, and will see the Chancellor set out updated economic forecasts for the UK.
It’ll start at 12.30pm in the House of Commons after Prime Minister’s Questions – and it’s expected to last for a maximum of an hour, a spokesperson for the chancellor told The Sun.
How is it different to the Autumn Budget?
Getty – Contributor The red box is a traditional part of every Autumn Budget
Big policy changes that directly affect how much we are taxed and the benefits we receive are generally saved for the Autumn Budget.
The Spring Statement is usually more about the health of the country’s economy.
Yet Mr Hammond has reserved the right to turn it into a proper Budget if Brexit negotiations require it.
What will Philip Hammond say?
The Spring Statement will be impacted by the outcome of Theresa May’s meaningful vote, which is expected to take place on or before March 12.
Treasury insiders have earlier said they cannot make big fiscal moves before they know if Britain is leaving the EU without a deal – given the huge gulf in economic forecasts between that scenario and getting a deal.
Either way, the chancellor will have more freedom because of a record tax haul in January, which put Treasury £15billion in the black.
It meant government borrowing in the first ten months of the 2018-2019 financial year fell to £21.2billion — the lowest for 17 years.
At the time, experts said it was a huge boost for the Chancellor ahead of the Spring Statement, but they also warned he would have to cut growth forecasts in the update.
Mr Hammond has already agreed to spend an extra £20bn a year on the NHS by 2023, so other public services are expected to be given a smaller share.
Meanwhile, campaigning MP Frank Field has demanded the Chancellor use the Spring Statement to ditch the final year of the benefit freeze – a move that would give hard-pressed families a £130 boost.
In last year’s Spring Statement, Mr Hammond avoided making any big changes to policies, instead announcing a series of consultations and reviews.
But he also dodged pleas from Tory MPs to reverse changes to the Universal Credit system.
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Mr Hammond is often viewed as a boring accountant, but he has actually had an exciting career before becoming the UK’s top financier.
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