November's budget could be postponed if MPs fail to pass Brexit deal in next week

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Wednesday 23 October 2019 16:50 BST
Chancellor arrives in Manchester yesterday ahead of his keynote speech
Chancellor arrives in Manchester yesterday ahead of his keynote speech (AFP)

November’s budget could be postponed if the House of Commons fails to ratify Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal within the next week.

Chancellor Sajid Javid wants to use the statement pencilled in for 6 November to set out ambitious plans for infrastructure spending to keep the economy going in the aftermath of Brexit.

But Downing Street said his plans may have to be put on hold if the Brexit process is extended, or if the UK crashes out without a deal on 31 October.

Mr Javid is understood to have ruled out using the annual statement to unveil major tax giveaways, including Mr Johnson’s £8 billion pledge to cut the bills of those earning more than £50,000 a year.

Instead, he is hoping to announce additional long-term capital projects to the £13.4 billion of extra spending set out in September’s spending review.

Announcing the budget date last week, the chancellor made clear that the timing was dependent on the UK leaving the EU with a deal on Halloween.

In the case of a no-deal outcome, the government would priorities swift action to support the economy, business and households, and the formal budget announcement would be pushed back by some weeks as official economic forecasters draw up new predictions for the public finances.

Mr Johnson’s official spokesman made clear that the 6 November date would not necessarily be scrapped if the EU offers a Brexit extension.

But he said: “The budget announcement was working towards a scenario in which we would leave the EU with a deal on 31 October, which is still what we are trying to achieve.

“If, because that process has been frustrated by parliament, that is no longer possible, we will have to update you closer to the time.”

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