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The Autumn Statement and the Brexit elephant

First published:, 23/11/2016

What do Hammond’s announcements tell us about the UK economy?

Philip Hammond must be the first Chancellor to have delivered two Autumn Statements on the same day: his first and his last. In effect, he is swapping an Autumn Statement and a Spring Budget, for an Autumn Budget and a Spring Statement, though he pointed out the latter would normally be a response only to the latest Office for Budget Responsibility forecast. Fundamentally though, it is sensible to assess and make tax and spending changes at the same time.

The more substantive elements of the Chancellor’s statement were rather more contentious.

Everything the government says and does has to be defined by how it is influenced by—and reacting to—Brexit. Leaving aside matters of personal finance, the government has to be judged on the basis of the 3 R’s: the roadmap of where the economy is going in terms of growth, inflation, public borrowing and so on; the restructuring of the economy that is now essential in order to mitigate the adverse economic consequences of Brexit; and the redistribution, for which the PM herself took responsibility when assuming her position and more recently at the Conservative Party conference. So how did Hammond do?….Read more: