Autumn Statement 2016: Here's how analysts have reacted to Philip Hammond's speech

 
Francesca Washtell
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Members Of The New Coalition Cabinet Arrive For Their First Cabinet Meeting
This will be Philip Hammond's first and last Autumn Statement (Source: Getty)

Here's how analysts have reacted to chancellor Philip Hammond's first - and last - Autumn Statement.

National Living Wage hike

​Guy Stallard, director at KPMG, said:

Today’s announcement will see a significant number of workers aged 25 and above get a pay rise of 30p an hour to £7.50 from next April. This may seem like small change to some, but for many people it’ll make a huge difference.

With the cost of living higher than it’s ever been, the reality for many is that they are forced to live hand to mouth. The increase in the National Living Wage will go a long way to save swathes of people being caught between the desire to contribute to society and the inability to afford to do so.

Lack of connection with energy industry

Dr Jonathan Marshall, energy analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said:

Despite claiming to provide certainty to businesses, Hammond has failed to offer any clarity for the energy industry beyond the short term. Freezing the carbon price support to 2020 was already announced in the March Budget, while deciding on the future of the levy control framework has been delayed until next year.

Considering the long-term nature of energy investments, clarity more than three years into the future is vital for the industry. Vast swathes of the UK’s generating capacity are reaching retirement age, and long-term clarity on carbon pricing would provide investors with the platform to back much needed new low-carbon equipment.

Pensions cold calling

Hugh Nolan, president of the Society of Pension Professionals and director at Spence and Partners, said:

We very much welcome the continued efforts to protect people from unwelcome cold calls, but more importantly from pension scams, which are financially devastating for the victims. We are delighted by the recognition that pension providers are an invaluable defence for consumers and the extra tools that will be given to the industry to help us protect our members and policyholders. Unfortunately, we are not sure that a ban on cold calling would be effective as there is an obvious risk that the scammers will simply ignore it, since by definition they aren't exactly law abiding citizens.

Jams today, bread tomorrow?

Analysts at Investec said:

The broad orientation of Autumn Statement was precisely as trailed. In overall terms, the fiscal stance has been loosened modestly, principally thanks to expenditure on infrastructure (such as housing and transport) and (some) relief to those that are deemed to be Just About Managing (Jams).

From a top-down perspective, taxation measures were minor and if anything, were a small net revenue raiser. However, Hammond also has the Budget in March if he judges that he needs to bolster the economy and the electoral fortunes of the government.

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