Autumn Statement 2023 Date Announced
Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has announced that he’ll deliver his Autumn Statement on 22nd November 2023. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has been directed to prepare an accompanying economic and fiscal forecast.
This will be Hunt’s third fiscal statement since assuming the role in October 2022. He stepped in after the turbulent period that saw former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng and ex-prime minister Liz Truss face criticism for their unfunded tax-cutting mini-Budget.
Earlier this year, in his ‘back to work’ Budget in March, Hunt introduced changes including the abolition of the lifetime allowance and an increase in the annual pension contributions allowance from £40,000 to £60,000. He also replaced the super deduction scheme with full expensing for investments in new plant and machinery.
His fiscal addresses so far have needed to be comparatively unremarkable, initially to calm the markets, but he faces quite a challenge this time around as well. The Chancellor has consistently maintained a freeze on personal allowance thresholds. This freeze, through which he’s been accused of increasing taxes by stealth, currently applies to inheritance tax, capital gains tax, VAT, income tax, and pension savings.
Speculation suggests that with a general election looming, the Government may want to reserve any significant fiscal announcements for the spring, when they may look to launch their campaign. It’s unlikely that Hunt will have any rabbits to pull from his hat in November. Given the current inflation rate at 6.8%, he also faces pressure to make changes to bring us closer to the Prime Minister’s stated priority for it to reduce markedly, particularly as it’s still a long way from the Bank of England’s target of 2%.
Addressing the House of Commons, the Chancellor highlighted the UK’s rapid economic recovery post-pandemic, with the GDP growth surpassing pre-pandemic levels by 0.6% in Q4 of 2021. He attributed the success to decisive measures like the furlough scheme, which safeguarded so many jobs.
The accompaniment of the Autumn Statement by the OBR’s forecast is a point to note. The absence in the previous mini-Budget presented by former PM Liz Truss and her Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng was a factor in the substantial economic repercussions and negative response.
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