Autumn budget date falls before Brexit talks
Philip Hammond has set the next budget for 29 October, marking the first time since 1962 that the government has unveiled its set-piece tax and spending plans on a Monday.
The unusual step from the chancellor to move the budget to the start of the week – as opposed to keeping it to its normal billing on a Wednesday – comes as the government risks failing to secure a Brexit deal with Brussels and as it encounters rebellion within its own ranks.
The date will fall the week after a Brexit summit in Brussels and before another key Brussels Brexit summit mid November. It means there will likely be no Brussels deal available at the time of the budget for the Office for Budget Responsibility to assess in its economic and fiscal risks report (which is published alongside the Treasury’s plans for the years ahead).
The Treasury said the timing allowed parliament more time to debate the budget measures before the Commons rose for recess on 6 November. It said in a statement: “This will set out the government’s plan to build a stronger, more prosperous, economy, building on the recent spring statement and last year’s budget.”
The last time a large-scale fiscal event was held on a Monday was in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis, when the former chancellor Alistair Darling unveiled a pre-budget report that included an emergency cut in VAT.