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Chancellor delivers a succinct Spring Statement

On Tuesday afternoon, the Chancellor delivered his Spring Statement, lasting twenty-six minutes in total. As expected, it was an altogether pared back affair. 

No new legislation in Spring Statement

Hammond stayed true to his word and did not use the statement as a means of presenting a ‘mini budget’. He did not announce any new legislation and refrained from tinkering with the tax system. For businesses, this will hopefully deliver improved (albeit still limited) stability in the coming months.

Despite upgrading growth forecasts and predicting falling inflation, debt and borrowing he did also acknowledge that there would be no abrupt end to austerity, particularly considering the expected £37.1 Brexit divorce bill, as published in the Office for Budget Responsibility’s background papers.

The Chancellor did, however,  imply that increased spending would feature in the Autumn Budget. The Autumn Budget will be published later this year.

Hammond instead used Tuesday’s address to unveil a series of consultations scheduled to take place.

Consultations invite views on future policies

These consultations will invite views on future policies such as measures to eliminate late payments for companies, the future of cash and digital payments – including plans to potentially scrap 1p’s, 2p’s and £50 notes – and plans for a new method of VAT collection, amongst other topics.

The Chancellor also took the opportunity to reconfirm some of those previously agreed changes taking effect in April 2018.

The National Living Wage (NLW) will increase to £7.83 along with the National Minimum Wage (NMW) which will also increase for all age groups. The Personal Allowance will also increase from £11,500 to £11,850.

In addition, as previously announced, the next revaluation for business rates will be brought forward to 2021. After this point, the government will move to revaluations every three years.

Upbeat Spring Statement but uncertainty remains

All in all, despite a seemingly upbeat statement and the Chancellor referring to himself as feeling ‘positively Tigger-like’ about the country’s outlook (as opposed to his ‘Eeyore’ opponents), there are undoubtedly still uncertainties that lay ahead for individuals and businesses alike.

Mr Hammond himself, even despite the above, acknowledged that the economy ‘does still face uncertainty’ as we continue negotiations with the EU.

A summary of the Spring Statement can be found on the Government website here.

Is uncertainty and a lack of confidence holding you or your business back? Seeking professional advice from trusted advisers, such as ourselves, is often the first step towards understanding exactly where you’re headed. So, why not contact us today, or fill in one of our online enquiry forms?

Find out more about how we can help businesses to find some stability in the face of setbacks, here.

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