Hunt delays 'autumn statement' by three weeks

Hunt delays 'autumn statement' by three weeks
  Chancellor Jeremy Hunt arriving for a cabinet meeting at Downing Street yesterday (October 25)

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has confirmed the next fiscal statement which was due to take place next week will now take place three weeks later on November 17.

The statement will include a forecast from the Office for Budget and Responsibility, which former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s ‘mini’ Budget last month failed to include.

The fiscal event has also been renamed the autumn statement, having previously been referred to as ‘medium-term fiscal plan’.

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HM Treasury said in an announcement today (October 26): “It will contain the UK’s medium-term fiscal plan to put public spending on a sustainable footing, get debt falling and restore stability.”

Under former prime minister Liz Truss, the government was accused by the Treasury Committee of “muddying the waters” over whether or not it was possible to publish a full economic forecast alongside its ‘mini’ Budget in September.

The committee has been putting pressure on the Treasury to publish a full economic forecast from the OBR alongside a full Budget by the end of this month, having argued that the OBR has been on standby ready to produce it.

Committee chair Mel Stride argued the absence of a forecast has “in some part driven the lack of confidence in the markets”.

Previously, the Treasury had committed to a full forecast and Budget by November 23. But following pressure from the Treasury Committee, this date was brought forward to October 31.

At the time Stride, who has since been appointed as work and pensions secretary, said holding the fiscal event at the end of October meant the monetary policy committee might be able to vote for a smaller rise in interest rates on November 3 which, he said, was “critical to millions of mortgage holders”.

With the latest date change, this forecast will now not be published until after this meeting of the MPC.

The ‘mini’ Budget introduced by Kwarteng saw a sweep of unfunded tax cuts disrupt the market due to the amount these cuts required the government to borrow.

It led to the central bank introducing a gilt-purchasing plan, which grew on October 10 - the same day the OBR forecast was brought forward - in a bid to quell markets.