The annual Budget statement is always delivered on a Tuesday, although since the autumn statement is a relatively new addition to the parliamentary calendar there is more flexibility with its timing.
Accountancy Age was the first to reveal that the chancellor’s address was unlikely to take place on the widely tipped date of 31 October. It has now emerged he will be out of the country in the coming weeks, scotching rumours that Brown was procrastinating as he needed more time to make a decision on fuel taxation.
In delivering his report on 8 November, the chancellor still beats the 60-day deadline imposed by fuel protesters, which falls on 13 November.
Pressure for tax cuts grew this weekend when it emerged that Ernst & Young’s Independent Treasury Economic Modelling Club has estimated Brown has a £16bn budget surplus. The report, based upon the Treasury’s own economic model, predicts a surplus £10bn larger than that outlined by the Budget in March.
The Confederation of British Industry pounced on the findings, calling for the chancellor to cut business taxes.
Kate Barker, CBI Chief Economic Adviser, said: ‘The top priority must be rolling back the hike in business taxation since 1997.’
Other speculation over the contentsof Brown’s statement has so far included a one-off rise in the basic state pension, a cut in excise duties on fuel and an increase in the personal allowance for income tax.
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