Chancellor Philip Hammond has raised doubt over the necessity of the Autumn Statement, suggesting that the Treasury should move away from “gimmicks and micromanagement” and towards reprioritising its spending and tax decisions on the spring Budget, according to reports.
The comments come less than a month before the Statement is due to go ahead, and in the wake of rising uncertainty over the future of post-Brexit Britain.
Earlier this month, the Chartered Institute of Taxation, Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Government collectively issued a letter to the Chancellor calling for consultation on tax changes to take place sooner than 23 November.
They added that they wished for the Chancellor to proceed with caution in his Autumn Statement, and stray away from introducing a ‘raft of policy changes’ at such a turbulent time.
Yet Hammond has reportedly told colleagues that he would like to see the Autumn Statement effectively scrapped altogether in future, in favour of a return to its initial function of ’fiscal forecasting’.
According to the Financial Times, he added that he wished to move away from “gimmicks and micromanagement”.
Alistair Darling, former Labour Chancellor from 2007-10, commented: “Philip Hammond might want to move to a situation where he has just one Budget, but I suspect that with the uncertainty around Brexit, that may turn out to be impossible.”
Reports have revealed that the 23 November Autumn Statement will go ahead as planned.