Government schedules Autumn Statement 2023 for November 22nd
The government has scheduled Autumn Statement 2023 for November 22nd.
It means chancellor Jeremy Hunt will deliver his second ever Autumn Statement in just 77 days’ time, in what could be his last fiscal update before a general election.
But rather than pre-election tax sweeteners -- for contractors and other parts of the electorate, HMRC dispute expert Tom Wallace of WTT Consulting, says “there’s a catch.”
“Mr Hunt insists that before we can expect any tax reductions, inflation must decrease.
“Presently, inflation stands at 6.8%, but the government has set a goal to halve it to 2% by the end of the year,” he said. “This ambitious aim is sure to take centre stage at Autumn Statement.”
Seb Maley, chief executive of Qdos, sees the chancellor’s November statement similarly, ominously for contractors.
‘Contractors won’t be holding out much hope’
“So contractors won’t be holding out much hope for a Budget-type package that finally delivers for the self-employed and small business owners.”
Conversely, over-50s have grounds to anticipate some targeted measures from the 56-year-old Treasury boss, even if his comments about them on the golf course riled many.
‘Removing IR35 would help with labour market participation’
Andy Chamberlain, director of policy at IPSE predicts it’s a demographic that the chancellor will address on November 22nd.
“We expect to hear more about the government’s plan to increase labour market participation.
“But we would argue that removing IR35 would go a long way towards this,” Mr Chamberlain told ContractorUK. “[Even if] that is unlikely to materialise, sadly.”
‘Support independent workers’
With the same legislation in mind is Qdos’s Mr Maley, perhaps because it is the very framework which Mr Hunt notoriously reinstated in October 2022, just before his initial AS in which he made dividends more taxing.
“We can’t stress how important it is that this government starts to support independent workers,” Mr Maley told ContractorUK. “[We need] policies to help this vital sector thrive.”
At WTT Consulting, the thinking is that the incumbent party has more incentive now to recalibrate relations with businesses, than in the last few rounds of Budgets and Autumn Statements.
‘Tories ought to reaffirm their commitment’
Mr Wallace, WTT’s director of tax investigations, said of the November 22nd statement: “The Tories may seize this opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to being a low-tax political party, potentially hinting at reduced tax rates or adjustments to various tax thresholds.”
The political context of AS 2023, and potentially Spring Budget 2024 too, isn’t lost on the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed either.
IPSE’s Mr Chamberlain said: “We’d love a strong commitment to invest in digital infrastructure, as well as physical infrastructure, to boost the economy.
“But more obviously, any promises of tax cuts will be warmly received by many in business. And who knows, we may get a hint in November of the cuts to come in next Spring’s Budget. There is an election coming after all.”