Mark Casci: Hoping for Autumn Statement stability? Dream on

Chancellor Philip Hammond will deliver his first Autumn Statement on Wednesday
Chancellor Philip Hammond will deliver his first Autumn Statement on Wednesday
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Ahead of the Autumn Statement one normally expects at least a full weak of speculation, leaks and demand as various companies and industry bodies lay out what the chancellor can do at the dispatch box to boost their interests.

One normally picks up the Sunday papers the weekend prior to the statement to see the usual raft of leaked information, a relatively new development in politics that began in earnest after Margaret Thatcher departed 10 Downing Street, taking with her her vice-like grip on Cabinet decision making.

File photo dated 2/7/2016 of a European Union flag in front of the Palace of Westminster. Parliament must be able to scrutinise the Brexit process and be given the final say over any treaties covering the new relationship between the UK and European Union, peers have said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday July 22, 2016. A House of Lords committee said the success or failure of the talks between the UK and the EU will have "profound and lasting implications" for the nation and it is "inconceivable" that there should not be parliamentary oversight. See PA story POLITICS Brexit. Photo credit should read: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

File photo dated 2/7/2016 of a European Union flag in front of the Palace of Westminster. Parliament must be able to scrutinise the Brexit process and be given the final say over any treaties covering the new relationship between the UK and European Union, peers have said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday July 22, 2016. A House of Lords committee said the success or failure of the talks between the UK and the EU will have "profound and lasting implications" for the nation and it is "inconceivable" that there should not be parliamentary oversight. See PA story POLITICS Brexit. Photo credit should read: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

However this year there has been a great deal of anticipation but little in the way of vested interests jockeying for position, with business leaders seemingly united in their call for one simple measure: stability.

It is hardly surprising given the tumultuous year we have seen. The vote to exit the European Union and Trump’s capturing of the White House have taken virtually all stratas of business and media by surprise, chiefly owing to the woeful performance of the polling industry which is increasingly looking like a living, breathing manifestation of the expression ‘not fit for purpose’.

Since then country has come to the realisation that we have now fully entered “the new norm”, the phrase used to describe a this brave new period of UK economic history in which we can expect only the unexpected.

Much of the clamour has the same ring to it; we need clarity and direction ahead of Article 50 being triggered in the Spring.

Well I can tell you all now exactly what this will entail. It will consist of the UK Government invoking a piece of EU-wide legislation signalling we are leaving the European Union for good.

Those hoping for a blow-by-blow account of what our exit will consist of on Wednesday afternoon following Prime Minister’s Questions are set to be sorely disappointed. We all want stability but the reality is the UK Government now has to deliver the most complex restructuring of the way it conducts its business since the end of World War II. Unscrupulous politicians from the Leave Camp intimated strongly during the poisonous referendum campaign that they had a plan and that they would be ready to execute it from the moment they secured a no vote.

Now that we have left the reality of the task at hand has set in and politicians are predictably, and somewhat understandably, keeping their heads down.

Phillip Hammond, the man many are now looking to for answers, is in the position to offer nothing but platitudes at this stage, as manifested by his appearance on Sunday’s political programming, a state of play that is not going to change ahead of tomorrow’s statement.

We are told there will be promises of infrastructure spending and that families who are “Just About Managing” - JAMs as they have been patronisingly shorthanded - will be offered relief at the petrol pumps and in other day-to-day expenditures that Government is empowered to influence (a move incidently that will be appealing directly to a section of society that was shown to have heavily favoured Brexit as it felt increasingly isolated from any economic successes).

All of this will be welcome but we have heard it all before. The reality is we are likely heading for perhaps the most anodyne statement of budgetary commitments that a chancellor has delivered in quiet some time. Mr Hammond is likely to repackage existing measures as fresh ones, a favoured tactic of Gordon Brown as he sought to secure political capital at the expense of his next door neighbour.

The search for the stability we all desire is not going to come tomorrow or any time soon.

The good news is that the predicted meltdown the alarmist wing of the Remain camp predicted has not materialised. We are in growth and most be relentlessly positive in our outlook lest we talk ourself into recession.