Chancellor Philip Hammond’s spring statement marked a change in the way the British government major tax or spending changes.
In the statement to a packed House of Commons, Hammond explained the traditional March Budget would now happen in the Autumn.
Pushing the date forward allowed anyone affected by the changes to plan for the April 5 financial year end instead of having to make important decisions in just a few days.
Instead, the March statement amounts to an economic ‘state of the nation’ speech.
Hammond told MPs that the UK economy has grown for the past five years in a row and is expected to continue to do so at a rate between 1.3% and 1.5% until 2022.
Employment is up by 3 million since 2010 – equivalent to 1,000 finding work every day.
Slim on policy
The good news is while inflation is outpacing wage rises now, this is expected to reverse by the end of the year and workers should see more money in their pockets, giving them a greater spending power.
The only policy proposals put forward by the Chancellor were:
- A tax on single use plastics, levied on disposable plastics, such as coffee cups, plastic cutlery and foam trays.
“The government is determined to take further action, and is seeking views on how best to use the tax system to encourage the responsible use of plastic,” said Hammond.
“Some of the money raised from any tax changes will be used to encourage the creation of new, greener products and services. In addition, £20 million from existing budgets will be given to businesses and universities to research ways to reduce the impact of plastics on the environment.”
- Two consultations looking at ways the government can integrate digital technology into the economy and how digital businesses can pay a fairer share of tax.
“Digital technology has changed the way people shop, sell, and save. While cash will continue to be an important method of payment, more people are moving towards digital payments every year,” he said.
Cry to the faithful
Hammond wound up his speech with a rousing cry to the Tory faithful.
“We are building our vision of a country that works for everyone,” he said. “An economy where prosperity and opportunity are in reach of all. Wherever they live. Whatever their gender, colour, creed or background. Where talent and hard work alone determine success.
“A beacon of enterprise and innovation. An outward looking, free-trading nation. One that is confident that our best days lie ahead of us. A force for good in the world.”