No tax changes or spending increases in spring statement, Treasury says

Chancellor Philip Hammond will ditch the Budget red box for a stripped-down spring statement with no major tax or spending announcements.

The March 13 statement will involve updated economic forecasts but is not expected to contain major policy changes.

Mr Hammond has abandoned the previous system of effectively having two budgets a year, with the March statement now expected to be a short speech lasting around 20 minutes.

A Treasury spokesman said: "There will be no red box, no official document, no spending increases, no tax changes."

The spokesman told the Financial Times: "The Chancellor will publish updated economic forecasts, we expect the speech to last between 15-20 minutes."

Mr Hammond signalled his approach to the spring statement when he announced his decision to shift the Budget to the autumn in 2016.

He said "no other major economy makes hundreds of tax changes twice a year, and neither should we".

"From 2018 there will be a Spring Statement, responding to the forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility, but no major fiscal event," he said.

"If unexpected changes in the economy require it, then I will, of course, announce actions at the spring statement, but I won't make significant changes twice a year just for the sake of it."