Spring Statement, 2018
Bruce Potter, chairman of Blake Morgan: “This was the first of Philip Hammond’s slimmed-down Spring Statements and, as expected, it was more of a school report on the past four months than setting any new curriculum.
“As self-assessments go, it was a glowing one. Against a scorecard of economic growth, employment and OBR forecasts, the country is scoring highly and the Chancellor was very keen to highlight that. His ‘Tiggerlike’ exuberance will no doubt appeal to many businesses and it should serve its political purpose in inspiring a welcome jolt of confidence as Brexit preparations rumble along.
“But the real headline here is the launch of various consultations on changes to the tax system – to reduce single-use plastic waste, capture VAT on online sales and support upskilling and training. Whether there is the parliamentary space or political will to take any of those possible initiatives forward remains to be seen.
“If it wasn’t clear before, it certainly is now that the Chancellor’s Autumn appearance will be where all the main fiscal action takes place. But what we’ve got from today is a better sense of where the Government sees the economy, its message on debt and the deficit, and how it will use consultations to prepare for more substantial changes in the Autumn.”