Mr Hammond’s Spring Statement was as much a political statement about Brexit as it was an update on the UK’s economy.
The OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) forecasts are based on the UK leaving the European Union in an orderly fashion and with a deal in place, whilst the Chancellor stated that a deal ‘dividend’ would release significant funds for public services and capital investment. Although this may sound like good news it is based on a very big ‘if’.
As expected, the Chancellor did not announce any major tax changes although a number of reviews and consultations have been launched. However, in keeping with previous Chancellors, Mr Hammond did take the opportunity to reiterate the positive announcements made in the last Budget. Similarly, significant changes in spending will be addressed in a three year spending review to be concluded by the time of the next Budget – presumably on the basis that by then he will have a clearer idea of the country’s economic position.