When the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond rose to give his first Autumn Statement few would have thought that it would be the last he would ever give.
However, after speaking for almost an hour the Chancellor controversially announced that he would be moving away from a Spring Budget and Autumn Statement towards a single annual fiscal event; a move which East of England-based accountants Moore Thompson says will give businesses more certainty during a period of growing uncertainty.
Philip Hammond also used his speech to announce an additional £4.4 billion of infrastructure spending, including the creation of a £2.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund “to deliver infrastructure for up to 100,000 new homes in areas of high demand.”
He also announced the launch of a National Productivity Investment Fund worth £23 billion over five years to make the UK more competitive.
These moves were made against the backdrop of poor economic performance highlighted by the Office of Budget Responsibility, which forecasts that between 2018 and 2021 the UK’s growth will be 2.4 per cent weaker as a result of Brexit.
Tim Martin, Partner at Moore Thompson, said: “The economic forecasts for the next few years aren’t looking as positive as they once were, but the Chancellor has at least made moves to shore up confidence by announcing additional spending on infrastructure.
“Whether the region’s small businesses will benefit directly from this additional funding is yet to be seen, but at the least they may enjoy a trickle-down effect.
“Most importantly by deciding to have only one major fiscal event per year, the new Autumn Budget, businesses will be able to plan better for the year ahead, without the fear of sudden changes every six months.”