Hammond’s first and last Spring Budget
Chancellor Philip Hammond will deliver his first and last Spring Budget this week (8 March) as the fiscal calendar switches back to an Autumn focus.
In an effort to simplify the business of setting taxes and spending, the Chancellor has said he is keen to avoid making significant changes twice a year just for the sake of it.
This transition to a more methodical Autumn Budget, where new legislation is published way ahead of the Finance Bill, combined with the looming presence of Brexit and triggering of Article 50 later this month, point towards a rather lightweight Spring Budget.
Added to that George Bull, senior tax partner at RSM, says Hammond faces a paradox that in the medium term he has little choice but to raise taxes, but in the short term will be well aware that the bewildering range of tax changes introduced by his predecessor have left businesses and individuals alike suffering from “tax fatigue”.
Bull said: “We expect to see progress in or finalisation of measures proposed in earlier Budgets and Autumn Statements. These will, we hope, include revisions to HMRC’s plans to Make Tax Digital, which have come in for criticism from many directions. However, there is a growing feeling that there will be relatively few completely new tax proposals from the Chancellor.”
Hammond will not want to frighten the horses on his first Budget outing, but may well use MTD as an example of the government being bold and forward-looking.
Looking further ahead, the new Spring Statement in 2018 will no longer be a major fiscal event, but simply a response to forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
This simplified approach, which allows more time for proper consultation, seems to have gone down well with the accounting and tax community.
Whatever Budget it will be tomorrow, AccountingWEB will be all over it as usual.
Alongside our usual output on the day of news and analysis on the measures that affect small businesses, we’ll be publishing a special Spring Budget report collated by Rebecca Cave, our live Budget panel discussion during the speech, Budget bingo (see below) and the annual Budget sweepstake, all sponsored by TaxCalc.
What sort of Budget do you think we’ll get tomorrow?