Chancellor Philip Hammond is considering dropping the annual Autumn Statement to focus on the Budget and move away from “gimmicks”.
The Financial Times reports while Hammond will be delivering the Autumn Statement as planned on 23 November, the Chancellor is said to have told colleagues he wants to move away from gimmicks and micromanagement and return the Autumn Statement to be focused on fiscal forecasting.
Former chancellor Alistair Darling told the newspaper he had also planned to scale back the Autumn Statement, but needed both the Budget and the Autumn Statement to cope with the fallout of the financial crisis.
Darling says: “Hammond might want to move to a situation where he has just one Budget, but I suspect that with the uncertainty around Brexit, that may turn out to be impossible.”
In a lecture last week, Treasury official Sir John Kingman said: “I do think one must concede there have been gimmicks over the years, including some that have been expensive and wasteful.”
Institute for Government deputy director Julian McCrae adds: “If you create fiscal events, they generate their own momentum and so get filled with guff. Changing the pension system so that the chancellor can pull a rabbit out of his hat, for example, is never the right way to go about pension reform.”