Spring statement will contain ‘no tax changes or spending increases’, Treasury confirms

A spokesperson on behalf of the Treasury has confirmed that next month’s Spring Statement will be limited to updated economic forecasts only and will not contain any major tax changes or spending increases.

The confirmation comes just days after rumours emerged in the press that the ‘slimmed-down’ Statement would last just 15 minutes and was likely to consist of little more than a brief response to recent forecasts published by the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR).

Over the weekend these rumours have been confirmed, with a Treasury spokesperson indicating that “there will be no red box, no official document, no spending increases and no tax changes.”

In an interview with the Financial Times, they said: “The Chancellor will publish updated economic forecasts; we expect the speech to last between 15-20 minutes.”

Back in 2016, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, first announced that the annual Budget would be moved from spring to autumn in coming years.

“No other major economy makes hundreds of tax changes twice a year, and neither should we,” he said.

“From 2018 there will be a Spring Statement, responding to the forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility, but no major fiscal event.”

However, he warned: “If unexpected changes in the economy require it, then I will, of course, announce actions at the Spring Statement.”