Here's what to expect from Philip Hammond's Autumn Statement


The Autumn Statement will be Philip Hammond's first major set piece in his new(ish) role as Chancellor of the Exchequer - and boy, what a way to kick things off.

Philip Hammond speaking at an event (Chris Radburn/PA)
(Chris Radburn/PA)

He has already warned us ahead of Wednesday's mini-Budget that the economy is facing a "sharp challenge" after Brexit, so brace yourselves.

Here are some things to expect from the big day:

Having that budget surplus by 2020 ain't happening

former Chancellor George Osborne (Andrew Matthews/PA)
(Andrew Matthews/PA)

The Chancellor has already abandoned the economic direction plotted by his predecessor George Osborne, whose aim of achieving a budget surplus by 2020 was scrapped by Theresa May.

So, free from these austerity measures, that means the Chancellor will have greater flexibility to tackle the challenges that lie ahead - mainly the ones brought about by that EU referendum we had.

Think slow growth and big borrowing

a European Union flag in front of Big Ben (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)
(Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

Hammond has stressed he needs "headroom" in the public finances to deal with the economic impact of Brexit, with forecasts predicting slower growth and "eye-wateringly" large debt.

He is reportedly facing a £100 billion black hole in the public finances. Gulp.

'Just about managing' families will be a central topic

a piggy bank (Gareth Fuller/PA)
(Gareth Fuller/PA)

Hammond has said the mini-Budget will help "just about managing" families - or 'jams' as they're known - "who work hard and by and large do not feel that they are sharing in the prosperity that economic growth is bringing to the country".

But critics say unless he reverses Osborne's cuts to universal credit (UC) - something shadow chancellor John McDonnell has urged him to do - it is precisely those working families that will be left up to £1,300 worse off by 2020.

Anyone else hoping for any substantial giveaways should probably think again

construction workers on a building site (Jonathan Brady/PA) Al
(Jonathan Brady/PA)

Hammond warned those hoping he will borrow large sums of money to invest in productive infrastructure that he remains "highly constrained" by the need to bring down the deficit.

Ahead of the launch of the Government's industrial strategy in the coming weeks, Hammond is due to instead prioritise high-value projects that can be built quickly and make an immediate economic impact.

The 40p tax threshold is likely to go up

Shiny new pennies (Joe Giddens/PA)
(Joe Giddens/PA)

McDonnell has said it looks as though the 40p tax threshold will be increased from £45,000 next year to £50,000 - a move supported by Labour that was promised back in 2014 by David Cameron to take millions of middle-income families off the higher tax rate.

But that's pretty much the only positive thing he could say about the imminent budget, adding: "What we need is a long-term strategy. This Autumn Statement, we're going back to giveaways and gimmicks again."

Britain's roads are going to get a makeover

traffic on a motorway (Rui Vieira/PA)
(Rui Vieira/PA)

Hammond has already revealed the Autumn Statement will contain a whopping £1.3 billion of improvements to Britain's roads.

Cold calls to your grandparents might be coming to an end

an office worker on the phone (Lauren Hurley/PA)
(Lauren Hurley/PA)

The Government has already announced plans to ban pension cold calls which can leave people open to scams which trick them out of their life savings.

Other things that might happen

Gym members exercising (PA)

The Sunday Telegraph claimed Hammond was set to crack down on staff perks like gym memberships and mobile phone contracts which are offered to workers willing to forgo part of their salaries in return - something that would reportedly help the Treasury raise more money in income tax receipts and national insurance contributions.

And according to the Sunday Mirror, he will use the Autumn Statement to hint at a temporary reduction in VAT from 20% to 17.5% to come in his Budget in March.

And what about the NHS?

the NHS logo (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Well the Lib Dems have urged Hammond to use the Autumn Statement to pump £4 billion of "emergency" funding into the NHS and social care.

Former coalition health minister Norman Lamb said: "Everyone knows that the service is going to need more money, above and beyond the increases in funding made by the coalition government."