ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

Autumn Statement 2016: Budget and Finance Bill timetable

Archived content

This page has been archived because it is no longer current information but is still relevant, or it is current but over 12 months old
  • Publish date: 25 November 2016
  • Archived on: 01 January 2019

ICAEW Tax Faculty provides analysis of the announcements relating to the Budget and Finance Bill timetable in the 2016 Autumn Statement.

TaxTalk Special

Watch the video broadcast from the Tax Faculty discussing the key tax-related announcements.

Watch now
In a moment of humour and perhaps deep irony, of which more below, the Chancellor announced that this would be his first, and last, Autumn Statement. What he meant was that the government proposes to change the Budget process so that there is only one major fiscal event a year rather than two as at present.

The plan is that:

  • the Budget will move from the spring in each year to the previous autumn;
  • the Finance Bill will be published in the autumn at or around the time of the Budget;
  • the Finance Bill will be enacted before the start of the tax year to which the measures relate; and
  • there will be a Spring Statement responding to the OBR forecast at that time.

Currently, the Finance Bill is published shortly after the Spring Budget with draft legislation for inclusion in the Bill published the previous December. Under the new proposal, the publication of draft legislation will be brought forward to the previous summer.

The new system will start in the autumn of 2017, and the Spring Budget next year will be the last.

The OBR is required under law to report on the government’s finances twice a year, hence the need for the Spring Statement. However, it looks like the Spring Statement may also be used to start consultations on how long-term fiscal challenges may be addressed. In addition, the government reserves the right to make changes to fiscal policy at the time of the Spring Statement should it prove necessary.

We support the move to one fiscal event. We also welcome the proposal to advance the Budget to the previous autumn and bring forward the Finance Bill process so that it is enacted before the start of the tax year. But this is only one half of providing taxpayers with certainty: the other is ensuring that the Finance Bill is well drafted and clear in scope. To do that, more time is needed to allow for greater parliamentary scrutiny. It looks as though the timetable will merely be brought forward rather than allowing more time for consideration – thus failing to address one of the main complaints about the existing Finance Bill process.