IMF calls for Autumn Statement to be scrapped

IMF calls for Autumn Statement to be scrapped

The Autumn Statement has come under fire from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has called for the UK Chancellor Philip Hammond's update Parliament to be scrapped and rolled into one single main Budget statement. 

According to a report released by the IMF yesterday (16 November), it insisted "major" tax and spending decisions should be rolled into a single economic update held no less than three months before the start of each fiscal year.

This would lead to a proper examination of announcements before they were transferred into law, it added.

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The global economic body pointed out that the statement had become as important, if not more important than the UK Budget statement itself. 

The report also suggested there should be consistency between the audited whole of government Accounts (WGA) and the public sector finances (PSF) autumn reports and that the government should concentrate on publishing a comprehensive fiscal risk report. 

Mr Hammond will present his first Autumn Statement speech on 23 November and is expected to concentrate on investment in Britain's infrastructure.

The IMF said the "quantum" of policy announcements that have been part of Autumn statements over the last six years had eclipsed the impact of fellow Budget statements by some margin "particularly on the tax side".

However, the strength of fiscal institutions and work on public finance transparency was praised by the IMF. 

The evaluation was carried out in July by the Fund’s Fiscal Affairs Department and the IMF said its findings had been "welcomed" by the UK authorities.