Philip Hammond’s Spring Statement ‘will last 15 minutes and contain no spending announcements’

Posted On: 
7th February 2018

Philip Hammond’s Spring Statement could last just fifteen minutes and will contain no tax or spending announcements, a government official has said. 

Philip Hammond's Spring Statement will last just fifteen minutes, a government official has said
Credit: 
PA

The Chancellor will instead give a brief response to economic forecasts produced by the Government's public finance watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility.   

An official told The Independent: "There will be no tax or spending announcements, it will be a much shorter statement, maybe only 15 minutes. 

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“There won't be the photo-shoot outside Number 11."

Mr Hammond last year told MPs on the Treasury Committee that the set piece speech, set to take place on 13 March, would not be a "major fiscal event".

Previous Chancellors have delivered their comprehensive annual Budgets in spring but Mr Hammond has moved his to autumn.

It is understood that the Spring Statement has been pared back following complaints from businesses that two big fiscal events every year would cause extra uncertainty.

It comes as the Chancellor faces increasing pressure from Tory Brexiteers over leaked Treasury forecasts showing that Brexit will have a negative impact on the UK’s economy.

Arch eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg dubbed the government analysis "politically biased" and accused Treasury officials of "fiddling the figures" in a bid to keep Britain in the EU customs union.

He also blasted Mr Hammond personally, saying: "There are concerns that there are some people close to government who are trying to undermine the Government’s own policy.

"It’s now been [made] clear we’re not having the customs union, [it] is a reiteration of policy [that] the only person who seemed to be disagreeing with was the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he ought to read up his constitution and think more carefully about what collective responsibility means."