The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has confirmed that the UK Government will unveil its Autumn Budget 2017 on Wednesday, 22nd November.
The Autumn Budget will utilise up-to-date forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to make plans for the UK economy. From this Budget onwards, there will only be one fiscal event per calendar year, held each autumn. A Spring Statement will be made each year from 2018, in response to the latest forecasts from the OBR.
Mr Hammond hailed the upcoming Budget as an opportunity to “set out our thinking on how to keep the economy strong and resilient and fair – an economy that works for everyone”.
The Chancellor admitted to the Lords Economics Affairs Committee that the national economy had been “inevitably overshadowed” by the negotiation process with the European Union (EU).
“The quicker we can generate some clarity about the future for business and consumers, the better, so that we can get back to the business of pursuing what I think looked like a very positive outlook for the UK economy in early 2016,” added Hammond.
Given that the Chancellor announced a number of changes in his last Spring Budget on 8th March, it’s merely conjecture at present as to how much Mr Hammond will choose to tweak in November.
One area that’s been raised consistently in recent months is the subject of stamp duty. Many fear it is acting as a deterrent to home movers and placing undue pressure on the country’s housing market. Some within the property industry suggest the Government should seek to remove stamp duty for older homeowners, encouraging them to downsize and free up homes for younger families.
Pension tax relief is another area that the Chancellor may look to amend, especially in light of the state pension triple lock being maintained. The current system sees relief linked to an individual’s income tax band, with higher rate tax payers getting relief at 40%. Some reports suggest the government could look to revert to a flat rate – something which would affect middle earners the most.
Nevertheless, this Budget should be focused on giving savers and workers certainty for the coming years as the UK continues its negotiations with the EU. Mr Hammond may be loathed to implement too many controversial changes in November given the Conservatives’ reduced majority in Parliament.