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Philip Hammond to announce United Kingdom economic cheer in Spring Statement

12 March 2018

Philip Hammond could reveal an improvement in the public finances worth as much as £11bn when he delivers next week's spring statement, according to analysis of official figures.

The Spring Statement is expected to begin around 12.30pm GMT.

The Spring Statement is referred to as the "mini-Budget" after Philip Hammond decided that the United Kingdom will now only have one major fiscal event each year, which is held in Autumn.

When is the Spring Statement 2018?

He said that the Budget would instead be held in the Autumn, around the time that the Autumn Statement, the second fiscal event of the year, is now held.

However, under the law, the Government's fiscal watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, is mandated to produce two forecasts for borrowing and growth a year, which has meant one in the Spring and one in the Autumn.

Despite the economy holding up better than most forecasts, which has helped the public finances, Britain went from the fastest-growing country in the Group of Seven rich nations to its slowest past year.

No much, is the steer from the Treasury.

"Box Office Phil", as he is known in Westminster circles, is expected to credit the United Kingdom for weathering so-called Brexit uncertainty having reduced borrowing and eliminated the deficit on the UK's day-to-day budget.

Kwarteng said Hammond's statement to parliament would last around 20 minutes, compared with the usual hour.

The majority of the statement is likely to focus on spending and borrowing forecasts.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "The chancellor should not wait until the autumn budget to act".

This is likely to create pressure for the Chancellor to spend some of this windfall on our creaking public services.

On productivity, for example, the United Kingdom recently recorded its two strongest quarters of productivity growth in six years.

These have been previously estimated by the Government as summing to between £35-£39bn in total.

Until 2016, the United Kingdom was the only major advanced economy to make major changes to the tax system twice a year: The Autumn Statement and Spring Budget.

In fact, they recommended the reform.

He said: "Although we still have no idea what post Brexit Britain will look like, the numbers will give the Government a little more ammunition, and give others the feeling that she is not just steering a sinking ship into the abyss".

But the Chancellor is likely to bank the windfall as a much-needed buffer, with the impact of Britain's European Union divorce bill on the public finances set to be laid bare for the first time alongside the statement.

The Autumn Statement was originally supposed to be a relatively minor fiscal event, but ballooned as successive Chancellors couldn't resist the temptation to tinker, mainly for political reasons rather than good economic or fiscal ones.

Philip Hammond to announce United Kingdom economic cheer in Spring Statement