Mr Hammond surprised listeners to his autumn statement speech when he said:
This is my first Autumn Statement as Chancellor. After careful consideration, and detailed discussion with the Prime Minister, I have decided that it will also be my last.
And then quickly followed with:
Mr Speaker I am abolishing the Autumn Statement. No other major economy makes hundreds of tax changes twice a year, and neither should we. So the spring Budget in a few months will be the final spring Budget.
Starting in autumn 2017, Britain will have an autumn Budget, announcing tax changes well in advance of the start of the tax year.
From 2018 there will be a Spring Statement, responding to the forecast from the OBR, but no major fiscal event. 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.
This change will also allow for greater Parliamentary scrutiny of Budget measures ahead of their implementation.
Mr Speaker, this is a long-overdue reform to our tax-policy making process and brings the UK into line with best practice recommended by the IMF, IFS, Institute for government and many others.
Accordingly, 2017 will be a busy year for legislation. In effect, there will be two budgets, one in April 2017, and one in the autumn.
This is a welcome change as it will provide Parliament and tax advisors with time to absorb changes announced each autumn, before most of the changes become law in the following April – though this won’t stop them being effective from the date of announcement as is often the case, now.
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