Slimmed-down Spring Statement is good for business

By Tony Medcalf, tax partner at MHA Moore and Smalley.

Tony MHA Moore and Smalley

We’ve been told that there will be no red boxes, no posing for the cameras in Downing Street, and no big tax and spending announcements for the Spring Statement.

It is widely expected to be a speech just 15-minutes long consisting mainly of a brief response to the OBR’s current economic forecasts.

I think the slimmed-down event will be welcomed by business owners. It made little sense having two major fiscal events in the same year. Just as businesses are getting their heads around one set of tax changes, along comes another just a few months later.

Businesses are already dealing with enough uncertainty with Brexit and a long list of other financial and legal requirements. These include workplace pension changes, the Making Tax Digital regime, and changing data protection laws to name just a few.

Aside from the government’s response to the OBR figures, the chancellor may use the statement to launch some consultations, sowing the seeds that could result in actual fiscal changes in the Budget later this year. But the clear and consistent message coming out of Number 11 is to “expect very little”. I would imagine most business owners will happily settle for that.