Advisers welcome Autumn Statement scrapping

Advisers welcome Autumn Statement scrapping

Chancellor Philip Hammond's decision to scrap the Autumn Statement was an "unexpected firework" but will "make tax planning easier", according to the IFA community. 

Leaving his announcement to the end of a speech that delivered policy on corporation tax and tax avoidance, infrastructure projects, National Insurance, the living wage and the personal allowance, Mr Hammond said: "No other major economy makes tax changes so many times a year and neither should we."

He added that the spring Budget in March would be the final one, and that from now on he would now only deliver an Autumn Budget.

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Mr Hammond said that this this would allow tax changes to be considered ahead of the new tax year.

When contacted by FTAdviser the changes drew a mixed reaction for the financial services community.

Les Cameron, head of technical at Prudential welcomed the change, and said: “The Chancellor’s decision to abolish the Autumn Statement  will make tax planning easier for advisers.

"The system of announcing major tax changes in the Budget and Autumn Statement has been making it increasingly hard for advisers to keep up to date with new regulations.

"Switching to an announcement once a year will make it easier to keep abreast of tax policy changes.”

James Hender, head of private wealth and partner at Saffery Champness, added: “The Chancellor’s move to abolish the Autumn Statement was certainly an unexpected firework.

"While shifting to a spring statement may seem as mad as a March hare, many will be pleased by the prospect of greater stability which, we hope, will come with just the one key fiscal event.”

However, the Autumn Statement did not go far enough for some financial professionals. Chris Fisher director at Edinburgh-based Multrees Investor Services, said that the Autumn statement did not go far enough to protect the financial services industry of the eve of the UK's exit from the EU.

“Given the distinct ambiguity regarding Brexit and how it’s implementation will be felt across all industries, it is disappointing that Mr Hammond did not deliver any key positive messages to help the businesses who with each day are facing uncertain futures," he said.  

"It is imperative that the financial services industry - the key revenue generator of the UK - is reassured and given strong signals that the UK government is thinking ahead on how to keep its key industries competitive in a global environment.

"Mr Hammond needs to think about this and start implementing ideas now ahead of Article 50 being triggered."