A Budget, to be or not to be, that is the question.
I am wondering if I am having writers block or is it simply from a trust and tax perspective there is nothing new to talk about at the moment.
I had hoped the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament might have revealed something of interest. However, in addition to the lack of the usual pomp and ceremony and the novelty of bring your son to work day the speech was very brief lasting a mere nine minutes giving her Majesty plenty of time to make it to Royal Ascot for the first race of the day.
The content of the speech was, as one would expect, Brexit centric but it was very thin on other matters including key issues that formed part of the Conservative Manifesto that now appear to have been dropped. Taking into account that the speech covers a two year parliamentary programme to coincide with Brexit the lack of content was surprising.
Though not actually covered in the Queens Speech in the follow up background notes it was advised that there would be three Finance Bills over the next two years including a Summer Finance Bill 2017. So when can we expect it to be announced? There is a lot of uncertainty over something which should be a simple formality but even the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, appears unclear as he stated there would be no summer Budget on the Andrew Marr show the weekend before the speech.
One potential reason for the delay in any announcement is that in order to have any chance of having a Budget passed the Government needed to ensure it had a majority in the House of Commons. Now a billion pound deal has been done with the DUP to get their support one would have hoped that clarity on the position would now have been given. If there is any further delay in announcing if there is to be an interim Budget they will face the pressing issue of time.
Parliament shuts down for summer on 20 July and does not open again for business until 5 September. Then just nine days later Parliament closes down once more, this time for Conference Season, but kicks of again on 9 October. There also has to be time found to squeeze in a weeks recess for mid term holidays, so even if a Summer Budget date was to be announced it would be possible that the passing of the Finance Bill would overlap the Autumn Budget in November.
Even at this stage if a Budget was called then would the Government try to reinstate all the 600 pages or so of the legislation scrapped from the Finance (No2) Bill 2017, or hold some over to the Autumn Budget to try and speed its passing through Parliament? For the abandoned legislation that was due to start from April 2018 this would not be a problem but it would be a comedy or errors for issues such as the reduction in the Money Purchase Annual Allowance or the changes to the deemed domicile rules.
Some sort of clarity is needed now!
So in addition to weak and wobbly leadership I think we can add woolly and woeful.
This blog first appeared on Professional Adviser