U.K. Treasury Fires Starting Gun for 2017 Autumn Budget

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By Ben Stupples

The U.K. Treasury has signaled the start of the countdown to the country’s 2017 Autumn Budget, calling for comments on new and existing policies ahead of the fiscal event.

The Treasury is seeking written representations as part of the policy-making process for the budget, according to online guidance updated Aug. 21. The comments should focus on changing existing “government policy and/or suggesting new policy,” the guidance adds.

Single Fiscal Event

The announcement comes as the U.K. prepares to shift to a legislative timetable based on one major fiscal event a year, aiming to simplify the government’s lawmaking process.

From 2018, after the transition in 2017, the U.K. will move from the 2016 format of a Spring Budget and an Autumn Statement to a Spring Statement and an Autumn Budget.

“No other major economy makes hundreds of tax changes twice a year, and neither should we,” U.K. Chancellor Philip Hammond said, revealing the change, at last year’s Autumn Statement. “If unexpected changes in the economy require it, then I will, of course, announce actions at the Spring Statement, but I won’t make significant changes twice a year just for the sake of it.”

Spring Statement

Due to the new timetable, the representations process won't open ahead of next year’s Spring Statement, the Treasury said Aug. 21. As a result, anyone interested in contributing to the U.K.’s policy-making process is “strongly encouraged” to submit comments ahead of the Autumn Budget.

“Although the date of Autumn Budget 2017 has not yet been confirmed, we have opened the Budget representations portal earlier than usual to allow more time for HM Treasury to note and consider representations,” it added.

The Treasury has set a deadline of Sept. 22 to receive any comments on policy for the budget. In an Aug. 21 email, a department spokeswoman declined to provide further comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Benjamin Stupples in London at bstupples@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Penny Sukhraj at psukhraj@bna.com

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