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Next week’s Spring Statement

Two weeks today it will be Spring, and a week today it will be the Spring Statement, which the pedant in me can’t help but feel is technically mis-named! But what is it… Is it the same as the Budget? And what will it cover?

The simple answers are No it is not the same, and probably not an awful lot!

Essentially prior to 2016 is was the first Budget of the year, but from 2016, the Chancellor decided it was a bit much to have two per year, so now we have just one; and it is called a Spring Statement. (Wrongly… Grrr!)

So how does it differ to the budget? Well the Autumn Budget does the same as in that, basically comments on how the economy is doing, but then unlike the Spring Statement is goes on to outline plans of what the Government intend to do: spending, taxes etc.

Therefore, we shouldn’t expect to hear planned tax changes. And being very honest we shouldn’t expect to hear much more than a 20-minute or so statement on how the economy has been faring. People generally can’t agree on how it is doing, and even fewer agree on how much effect Brexit uncertainty is having.

Now, let’s say that you are one of the pessimists who think the economy isn’t doing well. I wouldn’t say I am a pessimist, but I don’t think the economy looks good and so if we are both right, then like me, you would be keen to see fiscal investment, or the odd, preferably corporate, tax cut.

The budget deficit is better than forecast so the money is there, and business organisations such as the CBI and FBS think businesses need tax cuts.

So, what can we expect to hear? Well really very little. Firstly, we come back to it not being a Budget but more importantly the Brexit cliff edge is just two and half weeks after the Spring Statement: it would seem a rather silly to announce anything spectacular when things can change so quickly. Expect a murmur but nothing more.