Advisers have come out in favour of Chancellor Philip Hammond’s plans to scrap the Autumn Statement.
According to the Financial Times, the Chancellor wants to move away from “gimmicks” and micromanagement in the second main fiscal forecast of the year, reserving major announcements for the Budget.
Former chancellor Alistair Darling told the newspaper he also tried to rein in the Autumn Statement, but needed it to communicate reforms in the wake of the financial crisis.
Advisers say the Autumn Statement does not help their ability to plan for the long term, and often adds additional complexity.
Collingbourne Wealth Management director Martin Strutt says: “It would be great if the Government got rid of the Autumn Statement because it only creates an opportunity to complicate and confuse things. Osborne was particularly adept at complicating and confusing things for his own political ends, not for the good of the country or the simplicity of our clients’ financial lives, so its potentially good news if we reduce the number of events like this.”
Yvonne Goodwin Wealth Management managing director Yvonne Goodwin says rumours around potential new policies can also get in the way of planning.
She says: “We always get questions like ‘are they going to review tax-free cash this time?’ Quite honestly we could do without all that scaremongering, or at the very least knowing that if they bring in new policies it will be in the next tax year to give us more time. Why can’t we plan properly?
“With the big lead up to A-Day we had lots of little changes along the way before that. It would be a lot better to consult in advance rather than dropping in changes.”
But others argue potential new policies, even if they are not introduced, give advisers a good reason to contact clients and work out contingencies for their own business.
Plutus Wealth partner Georgina Partridge says: “We have always found the Autumn Statement relatively useful. You sense there’s always a difference between what happens and the rumours, but it gives us a bit of preparation if there are some whisperings ahead of the formal announcements.
“We see it as a good opportunity to talk to clients, andwill usually send newsletters out when something like that happens.
“We don’t see it as a negative. It gets us communicating to clients and gets us thinking internally, if x,y or z did happen how would we deal with it.”