What is the Autumn Statement?
In this year’s Statement, due on Wednesday 23 November after PMQs, Phillip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, will provide details of the government’s tax and spending plans, using the latest forecasts provided by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) as a guide.
‘Interesting’ Autumn Statement facts
- Technically, the chancellor is permitted to enjoy an alcoholic drink during the budget, but not in the Autumn Statement. The last person to take this offer up was Kenneth Clark.
- Talking of Kenneth Clark, in 1993 he changed the structure and timing of the Autumn Statement, turning it into the ‘Summer Statement’, which included debates. Gordon Brown changed this to the ‘Pre-Budget Report’ in 1997, and then George Osborne reverted it back to the Autumn Statement in 2010. He also changed the focus from backwards facing to forwards facing, to take in projections by the OBR. This meant it was no longer a report on progress but focussed on the government’s plans for dealing with the future economy.
- The Autumn Statement is one of two economic updates that the government must publish each year. The second is, of course, the Budget, which comes about in March or April of each year.
- This will be ‘Spreadsheet Phil’s (the nickname he is given in Whitehall) first Autumn Statement. People will be judging his performance as much as they will the details of the statement.
- Read Moneywise’s guide to what to expect from the 2016 Autumn Statement.
Office for Budget Responsibility
Formed in May 2010, the OBR makes an independent assessment of the public finances and the economy, the public sector balance sheet and the long-term sustainability of the public finances. The OBR has four man priorities: to produce two forecasts a year for the economy and public finances, to judge the progress the government has made towards meetings its fiscal targets, to assess the long-term sustainability of the public finances and to scrutinise the Treasury’s costing of Budget measures.