What is the Autumn Statement and why should you care?

…and what is different about this year?

It’s Autumn Statement day today! But what does that mean?

What is it?

The Autumn Statement is a speech made by the chancellor each year in parliament, setting out his plans for how to spend the country’s money.

George Osborne normally starts by explaining what’s been happening in the economy, using the figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility, and outlines their predictions for the coming year.

He then goes on to announce what changes will be made to how the country is being run.

Why should you care?

The chancellor only has two chances per year to go through his policies for the economy – today’s Autumn Statement and March’s Budget (though he actually did a second post-election Budget this year). The Budget is seen as the “big speech” although the Autumn Statement always brings a lot of changes.

He will announce changes which affect everyone directly, such as increasing or decreasing the rate of VAT for example. He’ll make changes that affect just some people directly, such as changes to benefit schemes or tax brackets. He’ll also announce measures for the greater economy, such as subsidies for specific industries, which can seem abstract to some people but can have an effect on the number of jobs in the UK or foreign trade.

The measures are usually wide-ranging so it’s likely you will be affected in some way by what is announced today.

Why is this year different?

This year, the Autumn Statement will be joined by the Spending Review. The Spending Review looks at the budgets for government departments and outlines how money will be split for the new few years.

Spending Reviews don’t happen every year – the last one was in 2013. They’re just announced when the chancellor decides to make changes to departments’ budgets.

Rumour has it many government departments are about to have their budgets slashed.

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