BudgetDec 19 2022

Govt sets March 15 date for Spring Budget

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Govt sets March 15 date for Spring Budget
Jessica Taylor via REUTERSBritain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt, gives Autumn Statement at the House of Commons, November 17, 2022
ByJane Matthews

HM Treasury has today (December 18) confirmed that an Office for Budget Responsibility forecast will accompany the Spring Budget early next year.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has informed parliament that he has asked the OBR to prepare a forecast to accompany the Spring Budget on March 15 next year.

In a statement he said: “This forecast, in addition to the forecast that took place in November 2022, will fulfil the obligation for the OBR to produce at least two forecasts in a financial year, as is required by legislation.”

The announcement followed criticism of Liz Truss’s government earlier this year after then chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng did not instruct the OBR to release an economic forecast alongside September’s “mini” Budget.

This was despite the fact the body had previously said it was ready to provide an emergency forecast.

Back in August, Mel Stride, previous chair of the Treasury committee, warned the previous chancellor Nadhim Zahawi against releasing an emergency budget without an accompanying economic forecast, saying it amounted to "flying blind".

OBR economic forecasts are normally released alongside budgets, with the government body normally requiring 10 weeks' notice.

Following the “mini” Budget - which sent gilt yields soaring, caused chaos in the mortgage market and ultimately led to Liz Truss resigning after only 44 days in office - the OBR was instructed to release a medium-term fiscal plan on October 31.

However, given the political fallout following Truss’s sacking of Kwarteng and her subsequent resignation, Hunt who became chancellor in October, delayed the Autumn Statement by three weeks.

Stride argued the absence of a forecast alongside September’s “mini” Budget had “in some part driven the lack of confidence in the markets”.

jane.matthews@ft.com