One of the big stories at next week's autumn statement will be the latest economic forecasts. It will be the first time since the EU referendum that the government and the independent Office of Budgetary Responsibility (OBR) gives its assesment of the impact of Brexit on the UK economy over the next 5 years. We will be looking for any difference between the OBR and Treasury assessment.
My advice would be not to get too hung up on the precise figures – just look for direction of travel. Neither OBR or Treasury will wish to inflame the debate one way or another - so will go for the best central scenario they can. More specifically, without knowing the terms of Brexit and the future trade relationships it is impossible to forecast with any accuracy.
We also need to hedge off against a tendency amongst commentators to present any forecast of economic deterioration as purely a response to Brexit. British businesses and our economy are exposed to many elements of uncertainty - not just Brexit; growth rates in China, geopolitical volatility in Syria and Ukraine, Eurozone bank vulnerabilities, impact of US elections, wider impact of general global economic shift to Asia.
We have seen a decline in business confidence in Grant Thornton surveys of business leaders. We will see economic forecasts being revised down, but this is a result of a variety of elements – which collectively create considerable uncertainty.
Philip Hammond will admit to the largest deterioration in British public finances since 2011 in next week’s Autumn Statement when the official forecast will show the UK faces a £100bn bill for Brexit within five years.Slower growth and lower-than-expected investment will hit tax revenues hard, the official forecasts will show, supporting the Treasury’s pre-referendum warnings that the long-term economic costs of Brexit are high.