Would you believe the Budget has rolled around again? That hulking great megalith of the financial calendar towering over all our diaries is back.
It’s usually not the most surprising event. But we did get plenty of fireworks last year, through the sheer number of them and audacity of some the (mini or not so mini) announcements…
This year, the hopefully first and only Budget on 15 March (we’re only supposed to get simple statements in Autumn) will be a notable one, for a few reasons.
Firstly, the UK is in a bit of a fiscal, inflationary and monetary mess. This means the Chancellor has lots of things to do to figure that out. This can lead to all sorts of consequences, and unlike in the Autumn, he’s had a bit of time to mull it over.
Secondly, we’ve actually had better than expected economic news recently, with £30 billion of spare capacity thanks to some fudged forecasting. This gives the Chancellor more to work with.
Thirdly, inflation is still stubbornly high, but energy prices are coming down quite quickly. This again could give Hunt some extra options. Indeed, with energy prices coming down the whispers are he has up to £56 billion extra headroom.
What does that mean for us in the financial media? It could be a banner day of tax cuts, allowance tweaks and other changes. But Jeremy Hunt is not Kwasi Kwarteng. The latter’s explosive mini budget is unlikely to be repeated and Hunt is clearly a cautious man.
As ever though, the devil will be in the detail. I will be there reading the runes with the best of them and look forward to seeing the hottest of hot takes!
Either way it is sure to be yet again a bumper day in our calendars. Hopefully just not for all the wrong reasons this time.
And so, what else is coming up this month?
3 March is the deadline for entry to the Headlinemoney Awards for journalists, so get those applications in!
ONS monthly wages and employment come out on 14 March while inflation is on 22 March. The US Federal reserve makes its latest monetary policy announcement on the same day.
The day after, 23 March, is the latest rate decision from the Bank of England while the temporary cut to fuel duty ends too (although the aforementioned Budget might have something to say about this).
It was never exactly a banner announcement but the ONS retail sales figures, published on 24 March, have recently become quite an important touch point for the economy as consumers wax and wane.
Finally, the long-standing Help to Buy scheme finally comes to an end on 31 March. I look forward to reading its obituaries.
All the best, wishing you a happy Spring from us here at MRM and Mouthy Money.