2nd October 2022
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt had been due to deliver his first fiscal statement detailing how the government plans to repair the country’s public finances on 31 October, but following Rishi
Sunak’s appointment as Prime Minister, it was decided to move the announcement back by two-and-a-half weeks.
The fiscal event, which will now be delivered on 17 November, has also been upgraded to a full Autumn Statement, paving the way for wider taxation policies to be announced. The Chancellor’s
tax and spending plans will also be accompanied by updated economic growth and borrowing forecasts produced by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
When announcing the postponement, Mr Hunt said, “Our number one priority is economic stability and restoring confidence that the United Kingdom is a country that pays its way. I’m willing to make choices that are politically embarrassing if they’re the right thing to do for the country, if they’re in the national interest.”
Financial markets were relatively calm after the news broke with analysts describing the delay as understandable, and both sterling and government bond prices were little changed by the announcement. The International Monetary Fund, which had criticised the previous Chancellor’s unfunded tax cuts, offered support to the incoming Prime Minister, with the organisation’s Chief Kristalina Georgieva suggesting Rishi Sunak will bring “fiscal discipline” to the UK.
The Chancellor has been keen to demonstrate his fiscal credentials, reiterating his commitment to “debt falling over the medium term.” This suggests the government will have some tough tax and spending decisions to make in order to fill the budget black hole, with Treasury officials warning people “should not underestimate the scale of this challenge.”