The Autumn Statement: What is it, where can you watch it and what will it include?

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond reads through his Autumn Statement in his office in 11 Do

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond reads through his Autumn Statement in his office in 11 Downing Street. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Today, the chancellor will unveil his first Autumn Statement to Parliament. But what is it? And why is it important?

Chancellor Philip Hammond appearing on the BBC One current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show.

Chancellor Philip Hammond appearing on the BBC One current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show. Mr Hammond will attempt to help "just about managing" families in the Autumn Statement but cautioned those expecting giveaways that the economy is facing a "sharp challenge". See PA story POLITICS AutumnStatement. Photo credit: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire - Credit: PA

• What is the Autumn Statement?

It is the second of two big economic statements made by the government. The first is the Budget, which happens in the spring.

It is a chance for the Chancellor of the Exchequer - Philip Hammond - to update MPs on taxation, investment and spending plans.

It was introduced in 1975 by an act of Parliament, which required the government to publish two updates a year.

• When is it?

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This year's statement takes place at 12.30pm today, after Prime Minister's Questions.

You can watch it on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer or here.

• What is the difference between the statement and the Budget?

Well, firstly, the Budget is announced in spring or summer, while the Autumn Statement is given in, yes, Autumn.

Traditionally, the Budget focuses on tax and the Autumn Statement looked at spending plans and financial forecasts, though the boundaries blurred during George Osborne's six years as Chancellor.

Interestingly, the Budget is the only time all year that a minister can drink alcohol at the despatch box.

• What is the Chancellor going to say - and why is it important?

This is the first major economic statement since the Brexit vote and the US election and the uncertainty caused by both.

Since then, firms across most sectors have called for clarify over the government's strategy to shore up the British economy.

While we won't know for sure until he speaks to Parliament, Mr Hammond has suggested he will abandon Mr Osborne's rabbit-out-of-the-hat approach, suggesting that there will be no big announcements.

He is expected to revise down UK gross domestic product (GDP) for 2017 and through to 2020.

We know that he plans to ban letting agents' fees to improve the lives of ordinary people.

But so far, major investment for roads, bridges, railways and other infrastructure projects have been suggested.

The Chancellor is also under pressure to find more money for the NHS.

He expected to unveil a bleak outlook for public finances and downgrades to economic growth forecasts.

Yesterday, he came under pressure to do more for so-called JAMs - people who are 'just about managing'.

• What do people in this region want?

In a story we ran last week, measures to boost productivity were high on business leaders' agendas.

This includes cash for road and rail projects, reliable mobile signal and broadband, incentives for firms investing in new technologies and ways to plug skills shortages.

Sectors listed specific wants:

• A cut in tourism VAT

• Tax and investment incentives in agriculture to provide more stability

• Delays in mandatory quarterly tax reporting, realigning the business tax system and specific tax help for the self-employed to benefit small businesses

• Incentives for exploration for energy firms and greater clarify on the government's future strategy

• We'll have live coverage on the statement from 12.30pm and an eight-page supplement in tomorrow's paper.

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