Autumn Budget scrapped amid Covid-19 pandemic

The Treasury has confirmed that the Autumn Budget will not take place amid the coronavirus pandemic, although Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, provided an economic update to the House of Commons today.

A statement from the Treasury said: "As we heard this week, now is not the right time to outline long-term plans - people want to see us focused on the here and now.

"So we are confirming today that there will be no Budget this autumn."

Sunak had reportedly been keen to tackle the "anomaly" caused by the triple lock on state pensions in his autumn budget by temporarily suspending it, although Prime Minster, Boris Johnson, was reported to have disagreed with these plans at the time.

However, industry experts had also since predicted that Sunak could defer announcing too many “radical” changes to the pensions triple lock or higher rate of tax relief, as the economic implications of the pandemic were “still far from clear”.

Commenting on the announcement, Quilter tax and financial planning expert, Rachael Griffin, stated: “The time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining, so it makes sense for the Chancellor to delay the tough decisions until at least next spring.

“By then government will hope to have a much better idea of whether an effective vaccine is viable for next year, and the UK’s longer-term relationship with the EU ought to be clearer.

“At the moment it would be extremely challenging to make long-term policy decisions with so much up in the air. As we learn more over the coming months it may become a little easier to build an informed projection about the trajectory of the economic rebound.

“In turn, that makes it easier to build an evidenced based case for what may be some difficult policy decisions.”

Sunak announced his Winter Economy Plan today, with the government expected to publish more detailed guidance around employers' pension contribution duties in the coming weeks.

Arc Pensions Law partner, Anne-Marie Winton, warned that the plan could generate "significant additional confusion" amongst employees and employers about how to correctly operate automatic enrolment.

"The potential for errors is huge, so I would hope that there will be a very lenient approach from The Pensions Regulator to accidental non-compliance,” she added.

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