Over the years we’ve got used to eagerly anticipating the Budget each spring.

What will happen to tax rates?

Will tax relief be slashed from pension saving?

By how much will cigarettes & alcohol go up?

What about the price of petrol?

Then a couple of years ago the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, decided he was tired of having to do a Budget in the spring followed by a “statement” in the autumn as they had morphed into pretty much the same thing. So he decided to flip them, holding a “statement” in spring to sum up the state of the economy and public finances, then a Budget in autumn where tax and spending changes would be announced.

So with all the current noise about Brexit you would have been forgiven for not realising that he was due to make a Spring Statement on Wednesday 13 March.

And to be frank, you didn’t really miss much.

Here at Logic Towers we’re not gamblers but we did have a little sweepstake on what may be announced.

  • Guy’s hot money was on there being no change to pensions or savings. And so it came to pass, although to be fair it wasn’t exactly a risky bet.
  • Harj reckoned that, with Brexit still uncertain, there would be some surprisingly upbeat comments about the health of the UK economy – this proved pretty much spot on and was backed up by figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility. Pass the crystal ball!
  • Lindsey (wearing her compliance hat), pointed out that whatever the Chancellor and the press releases revealed, the devil is always in the detail and we should wait for more information to come to light in the coming days. Clearly a cautious optimist.
  • Harmit believed that the Chancellor’s statement would almost pass without notice and would even struggle to make the front pages of the newspapers. This proved most prescient as a day later it had been relegated below news that singer Joss Stone was performing in North Korea.

More generally the Chancellor said the economy had “defied expectations”, with wages expected to keep growing at 3% or more over the next 5 years and above the price inflation target of 2% set by the Bank of England.

The forecast for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth – a barometer for the health of the UK economy – is 1.4% for 2020 and growing by 1.6% a year for each of the following 3 years.

He also hinted that the government would have up to an extra £26.6 billion (previously £15.4bn) to spend if MPs voted to leave the EU with a Brexit deal. The inference here of course is that the improved economic performance was at risk if a smooth Brexit cannot be achieved.

As ever, if you have any questions about this blog, are looking for a financial planner for the first time or just want a fresh opinion on your current plans, we’d love to talk to you.