In the United Kingdom there are two important economic statements issued by the British Government each year. The first is the Budget, which is issued in March; the second is the Autumn Statement that is delivered is December. The decision was made to issue two annual economic forecasts back in the 1970s and it has become a feature of the political calendar since. However, even though the Autumn Statement is a commonly known event, many still ask the question, what exactly is the Autumn Statement? This article is here to answer that question once and for all.
The Autumn Statement we see today first began life back in 1975 as an act of Parliament. Originally it was simply a secondary budget announcement, however in 1982 it was first referred to as the Autumn Statement for first time and the term has been its official name ever since. I’m sure some you are wondering why it is referred to such given that it labelled as the Autumn Statement yet comes in December. It was originally issued in November, but the name actually has more connections to its original release date, which comes at the end of School and University autumn terms.
What makes it different from the Budget is that the Autumn Statement features economic projections and showcases broader departmental spending results. This is in contrast to the Budget, which focuses mainly on taxation plans and its allocations. That isn’t to say that the line between the two hasn’t become blurred in the past, as certain information has jumped between the two statements. A little known fact about the difference between the two is that during Budget planning, chancellors are allowed to drink alcohol, while during Autumn Statement planning they are not.
The Autumn Statement is an important figure within the economic landscape of the United Kingdom, but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been called into question in the past. During the 1990s Labour made the Autumn Statement undergo an alteration, as it was moved to the summer and renamed the pre-budget report. It was done so to highlight the fact that it become a trailing fixture of the economic calendar, and that moving it to summer would offer more time for both consultation and implementation of what is agreed. It would stay that way until 2010 when the Conservative party would restore it to its familiar autumn position.
What is known about the statement before it goes live is often questioned; as such information is kept under lock and key. Another issue that has become hard to predict has been its length. Benjamin Disraeli issued the shortest statement of 45 minutes, while William Gladstone issued the longest at 4 hours and 45 minutes in 1867. When the Autumn Statement comes around each year there is every chance that you are in for the long haul should you want to note all that is going to be said. But one thing is for sure, what is being said is going to be of relevance to you in one way or another.
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Alexander Bowring is a London based writer and a Southampton Solent University Screenwriting graduate. He has worked alongside TV personality and Telegraph feature writer Alison Cork, whilst also having produced content for ITV, This Morning, Canvas8, Who’s Jack, Alison at Home, and Bonallack & Bishop Solicitors. Having a keen interest in investments.