Autumn Statement LIVE: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt reveals 2p national insurance cut, alcohol duty freeze, 8.5% state pension rise and 6.7% benefits increase – amid ‘biggest fall in real living standards since 1950s’
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Autumn Statement – what we know so far

Here is what Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced in the Autumn Statement today:

  • Cut national insurance by two percentage points for 27 million people
  • NI also cut by an average £350 a year for two million self-employed
  • Permanent plan for firms to cut tax bills if investing in new equipment
  • Universal credit and other benefits will increase by 6.7%
  • State pension will rise by 8.5% in line with average earnings
  • £1.3 billion of funding to offer ‘extra help’ to 300,000 unemployed
  • £7million over three years for organisations to tackle antisemitism
  • Will explore options for a NatWest retail share offer in the 12 months
  • Alcohol duties frozen until August 2024
  • 75% business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure until 2025

Jeremy Hunt says families are ‘bruised’ by years of financial problems

  • Chancellor admitted people are ‘feeling bruised’ by their financial troubles
  • A series of geopolitical crises means UK had ‘to put up taxes’, he told BBC
  • ‘We promised when we are in a position to reduce the burden on families we would,’ Hunt said
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt leaves 11 Downing Street on his way to present his Autumn Statement in the House of Commons, in London, Britain, November 22, 2023. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Explainer: What is the OBR?

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is an independent body which marks the government’s homework whenever the Treasury makes an important announcement – such as today’s Autumn Statement.

It frequently checks official tax and spending figures and provides confidence for those who want to invest in the UK and lend the government money.

Hunt’s tax giveaway is based on ‘implausible’ plans to cut public spending

Jeremy Hunt’s tax giveaway is based on ‘implausible’ plans to cut public spending and will not prevent this from being the ‘biggest tax raising’ parliament in recent times, economists have said.

The Chancellor used his Commons statement today to begin to ease the historically high tax burden and announce tighter welfare rules and further measures aimed at getting more people into work.

Mr Hunt said a stronger outlook for the public finances meant he could slash the 12% national insurance rate to 10% and offer firms incentives to increase investment.

But the Office for Budget Responsibility’s predictions painted a picture of anaemic growth for the next three years.

Paul Johnson, director of the independent research body the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), noted that public finances have not meaningfully improved, the growth

Average house prices will fall by almost £25,000 next year and they are unlikely to recover to their 2022 high until 2027, experts warned today.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) also said that prices would fall by 4.7 per cent next year, after a modest increase of 0.9 per cent this year.

It said recovery could take three more years, but by the time they do the average mortgage rate could well be 5 per cent, heaping added pain on buyers.

Read the full article on MailOnline here:

Hunt’s decision to give households near new power lines £10,000 off electricity bill branded a ‘half baked attempt to buy people off’

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s commitment to give households close to new power lines up to £10,000 off their electricity bills has been branded a ‘half-baked attempt to buy people off’ by campaigners in Scotland.

Dan Bailey, who is campaigning against the proposed route for a new line of pylons in the Highlands, said the proposal was ‘utterly inappropriate’ when compared to the ‘serious harm to the local environment, quality of life, and the visitor economy of the Highlands’ that he claimed could result from the project.

Mr Bailey, who wants to see changes made to the Spittal to Beauly power line, insisted that the sum on offer from the Chancellor ‘does not come close to matching the likely hit to property values when giant pylons are bulldozed through our area, and many other parts of the country’.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 22:  Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt leaves 11 Downing Street on November 22, 2023 in London, England. Jeremy Hunt aims to present a growth-focused fiscal plan, leveraging the recent drop in inflation, against the backdrop of Rishi Sunak's speech on Monday, emphasizing the critical choices needed to rejuvenate stagnating economic growth. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool /Getty Images)

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has published its latest forecasts for the UK economy, inflation, house prices and unemployment.

This is Money outlines the key data and charts from the OBR’s latest forecasts.

Read the full article at MailOnline:

OBR says economy is set for three years of growth below previous forecasts

The UK fiscal watchdog has slashed its growth forecasts for the economy in the coming years and warned that it will take longer to bring inflation down.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said the economy would grow by more than expected this year but was set for three years of growth below previous forecasts.

It came as the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt unveiled around £20 billion of business and personal tax cuts in the Government’s autumn statement, which he dubbed a ‘statement for growth’.

Nevertheless, he was immediately warned that the country is still on track to face the highest tax burden since the Second World War and a further fall in living standards for Britons.

The OBR said on Wednesday afternoon that UK gross domestic product (GDP) will grow by 0.6% this year, after it predicted in March a marginal decline.

It comes after the Chancellor promised to grow the economy as one of the Government’s five pledges.

However, in the autumn statement on Wednesday, Jeremy Hunt revealed the OBR has downgraded its growth forecasts for the next three years.

‘Not the quiet autumn statement we were promised’

The Chancellor’s tax cuts will not prevent this from being the biggest tax raising Parliament in recent times, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said.

Paul Johnson, the think tank’s director, said: ‘That was not the quiet autumn statement we were promised. Before assessing the specifics, it’s worth getting a few things straight.

‘The public finances haven’t meaningfully improved. The growth outlook has weakened. Inflation is expected to stay higher for longer. Higher inflation pushes up tax receipts by more than it pushes up spending on debt interest or social security benefits.

‘But rather than use the proceeds to ease the ongoing ‘fiscal drag’ effects of threshold freezes, or to compensate public services for higher costs, the Chancellor opted to cut other taxes – most notably national insurance and corporation tax.

‘These tax cuts won’t be enough to prevent this from being the biggest tax raising Parliament in modern times.’

Thabani Sithole, 73, has been receiving a state pension since the age of 65 and currently receives £365 a month, with pension credit of £109 a week.

She had worked as a critical care nurse all her life and had later begun working in advertising but was put out of work due to illness.

Ms Sithole, who lives with her daughter, has been hit hard by the cost-of-living crisis, and is trying to make do with the pension payments.

She is left in her overdraft most months despite trying to reduce energy costs and using food banks to manage grocery prices.

On top of her state pension and pension credit, Ms Sithole also receives £407 a month in attendance allowance – extra money provided for those with a long-term physical or mental condition or disability.

Despite her daughter helping to pay towards household expenses, Ms Sithole struggles with affording bills, with gas and electricity coming to more than £180 per month.

Despite her daughter helping to pay towards household expenses, Ms Sithole struggles with affording bills, with gas and electricity coming to more than £180 per month

Her total monthly expenditure, when including her mortgage, bills, groceries and other household expenses, comes to £2,018 – significantly more than she receives monthly.

Picture shows:Thabani Sithole, 73,an Autumn Budget Case Study about triple lock pensions and potential changes to it.Picture by Kerry Davies 15/11/2023

Crackdown on long-term jobless

Jobseekers who don’t land paid work after 18 months will be forced to do ‘work placements’ under a clampdown on joblessness.

Jeremy Hunt said that people still unemployed after receiving help for a year and a half will have to work where they are told to ‘increase their skills and improve their employability’ in his Autumn Statement.

And those who fail to even look for work will have their benefits stopped entirely after as little as six months, he told MPs this afternoon. This will not apply to those with disabilities or children.

Pubs will be ‘raising a glass’ to the Chancellor

Britain’s publicans and brewers will be ‘raising a glass to the Chancellor’ after measures were unveiled to help small firms by slashing business rate bills across the sector.

Experts estimated that independent pubs, small shops and restaurants will save between £11,728 and £16,507 each on average in business rates next April thanks to the announcements.

The Chancellor revealed plans to freeze the so-called small business multiplier – a tax rate used to calculate bills for non-domestic properties – while also extending the 75% discount on business rates up to £110,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure firms for a fifth year to 2024-25.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) welcomed the moves as ‘bold, measured and targeted support’, while the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said they were ‘vital lifelines for the sector’.

It comes as Jeremy Hunt also announced plans to freeze beer duty until August 2024.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, said: ‘Britain’s publicans and brewers will be raising a glass to the Chancellor tonight, who has once again recognised the importance of our nation’s pubs and brewers to the economy and communities.’

She added: ‘These policy decisions will save our sector around £350 million.

‘They will help deliver growth across cities, towns and villages all over the UK, helping to level up the nation and underpin truly national growth in local economies at the heart of our communities.’

But she stresses that such measures were ‘critical,’ to help offset soaring costs and a £240 million increase in the sector’s wage bill after the government also upped the National Living Wage for workers.

5.5million people will get an extra £470 a year

The Chancellor revealed he will raise handouts by 6.7 per cent next year, in line with September’s inflation rate, after he rejected the idea of using the lower October rate as a benchmark in a decision that will cost £3billion.

He told MPs this would be an ‘average increase of £470 for 5.5 million households next year’.

But at the same time he has unveiled a range of changes designed to get more people in receipt of disability benefits back into work. Currently some 42 per cent are in work.

From 2025 those who are housebound with physical or mental illness will be told that it is not a barrier to getting a job, thanks to technology that makes working from home easier.

And any claimants who refuse to look for work could lose their benefits in as little as six months under changes designed to lower the workless rate.

Single mum Lauren Whisker, 30, has slammed the Autumn budget announcement as she claims it sees single parents ‘forgotten’ – because there’s no increase to child benefit allowance.

The 30-year-old from Clayton, Manchester says she has to ask her mum for money to buy food and snacks for little Ava, one.

She get universal credit but has to live with her parents to make ends meet.

She works part time and says every penny she gets goes on her daughter – and £24 per week in child benefits is far from enough.

Ms Whisker says she has just three sets of clothes – and cannot buy any more because she already struggles to keep up when Ava needs new outfits as she grows.

She said: ‘I get £24 a week and it’s just not enough for everything.

‘I have to borrow money off my mum for food and snacks and I have to walk everywhere because I can’t afford the bus or tram.

‘I just wish they would give us single parents more money to look after our children.

‘You just can’t afford everything a child needs on £24 a week. It needs to go up to at least £40 a week.

‘Without enough child benefits I can’t do anything and I feel forgotten.’

Lauren Whisker  and daughter Ava Whisker. Photo released November 22 2023. see SWNS story SWNJchild. Single mum slammed Autumn budget announcement which sees single parents "forgotten" - because there's no increase to child benefit allowance.Lauren Whisker, 30, is a single mum to daughter Ava, one, and feels disappointed following the budget announcement.Lauren, who accesses Universal Credit, has to live with her parents with her daughter to be able to make ends meet.She works part time and says every penny she gets goes on her daughter - and £24 per week in child benefits is far from enough.

Little mention of education in Chancellor’s speech

The Chancellor made little mention of education in his speech, other than announcing £50 million to pilot ways of increasing the number of apprentices in engineering and ‘other key growth sectors’.

The Government has previously announced £600 million to provide teachers in ‘key shortage academic and technical subjects’ with financial incentives for the first five years of their careers.

However, with analysts expecting a further squeeze on departmental spending limits in order to meet the Government’s other aims, it remains to be seen whether education in the UK can be improved without additional investment.

‘I used to shop at Sainsbury’s but now go to Iceland’

Tracy Pavitt has been pushed from shopping at Sainsbury’s to going to Iceland as she is forced to cut costs.

The 56-year-old support worker from East Croydon, London, pays £650 a month to live in a house where she has to share the shower with 16 others.

With the electric meter costing her £40 every week, she has found herself ramping up her hours at work as she struggles to make ends meet on her £1,400 p/m salary.

While she used to choose a diet containing lots of fish she is now having to resort to Pot Noodles – as she has watched in shock as the price of a tub of margarine rose as high as £3.

Tracy said: ‘It’s really hard. I’m doing more hours of work to make ends meet.

‘I’m just finding it really hard to get through now. Everything has got on top of me financially, everything.

‘I don’t come out much, only to meet my friends, which is not very often. The cost of living has made a big difference.’

Support worker Tracy Pavitt - in Croydon. Taken by MailOnline reporter

‘It’s too little too late and can’t undo damage’

Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said today’s statement was a ‘desperate attempt to press the reset button and present the Government as the party of change’

She said it’s ‘too little too late and can’t undo the damage done.’

‘It’s a cynical ploy ahead of an early election. The Government is on the ropes and wants to shift attention from its dire poll ratings.

‘The Chancellor is simply giving back what he and his inept predecessors have already snatched from working people. No one will be fooled. They will still be worse off.

‘Yet again public services didn’t get a look in, aside from being told to deliver more for less. But in-crisis essential services can’t give the public what they need.’

TSSA general secretary blasts ‘zombie economics which have been a nightmare for far too long’

Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association general secretary Maryam Eslamdoust today hit out at Hunt, saying he has ‘little to offer to workers beyond his empty union bashing rhetoric’.

‘While the Chancellor claims he’s taking 110 measures to grow the economy the truth is for 13 years the British people have been trapped in Room 101 by the Tories,’ he said.

‘Pre-election giveaways can’t mask the facts. They have inflicted years of austerity, crashed the economy, spiked mortgages and inflation with their zombie economics which have been a nightmare for far too long.’

The Government is considering a NatWest share offer to retail investors in the next 12 months, as it looks to offload more of its stake in the bank.

In his Autumn Statement this afternoon, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the move would be ‘subject to supportive market conditions’ and ‘value for money’.

The Government intends to fully exit its stake in NatWest in 2025 to 2026 using a range of disposal methods – and returning NatWest to the private sector through a share offer is one.

Read the full story from This Is Money reporter Helen Kirrane:

Heineken welcomes alcohol duty freeze

Drinks manufacturers are welcoming the freeze to alcohol duty, which Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced will be in place until August 1 next year.

Boudewijn Haarsma, managing director of Heineken UK, told MailOnline: ‘The Chancellor’s decision to heed our calls to freeze duty and continue business rates support is a vote of confidence in pubs, brewers and cidermakers.

‘We can now look to plan our investments in 2024 with more certainty. Jeremy Hunt was right to highlight the importance of the Great British pint, our pubs sit at the heart of so many communities across the country and the moves made today mean publicans and pubgoers will be raising a glass.’

ONS edits to GDP impact OBR growth forecasts

David Miles, a member of the Office for Budget Responsibility’s Budget Responsibility Committee, said recent upgrades by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to GDP data has impacted its latest growth forecasts.

He said: ‘The reason why the growth outlook in the near-term is a little bit worse is a reflection of a bit of good news is that the starting level of GDP had been revised substantially higher by the ONS.

‘It was revised up 3 per cent against what was thought in March. Rather than in March, where we thought there was spare capacity, there is perhaps more excess demand. We are starting from a position of more economic activity than we thought.’

You can watch the OBR broadcast via its social media feed here:

How the Autumn Statement impacts Britons

Despite inflation falling to 4.6 per cent last week, Britons across the UK are still struggling with high energy bills and soaring costs in many areas of their finances.

Here, MailOnline speaks to people across Britain about what it means for them:

The Government has extended the deadline on its Mortgage Guarantee Scheme, which aims to help those buying homes with small deposits.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said that the scheme, which was due to close on 31 December, would now be open for another 18 months until the end of June 2025.

It was introduced in 2021, and is designed to encourage banks and building societies to hand out mortgages with 5 per cent deposits.

Read the full story from This Is Money deputy editor Helen Crane:

Business groups welcome new measures

Business groups have welcomed measures announced by the Chancellor, saying he had listened to their concerns on issues such as rates, tax and late payment.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) praised action aimed at reducing the time firms take to pay their suppliers. Policy chairwoman Tina McKenzie said: ‘Jeremy Hunt has today taken very welcome action on late payments, small businesses’ rates, and self-employed taxation.

‘The Chancellor and his Treasury team deserve credit for driving pro-small business change and for listening to and working closely with FSB and its small business members to address the real concerns of businesses, and acting to help build future prosperity. The Chancellor is right to have condemned from the despatch box the scourge of late payment practices.

‘Driving out the worst payers from Government contracts and increasing the reputational risk faced by those large corporates who use their small suppliers as a form of free credit is not only the right thing to do to lessen the absolute stress and strain so many business owners face – it is also the way to increase the amount of working capital small businesses can put to good use building up their businesses and investing in the future.

‘Size matters when it comes to rates, and the Chancellor is absolutely right to have concentrated his firepower on helping the smallest firms at the heart of so many communities. Thousands of pubs, cafes and small shops in high streets across England will be pleased today with the bold, measured and targeted support from the Chancellor to help them through troubled times and build towards growth.’

Campaigners hit out at welfare change plans

Welfare changes meaning people will lose their benefits if they do not look for a job will tackle a current ‘waste of potential’ in the population, the Chancellor has said, though campaigners have accused the Government of punishing people by framing disability as a lifestyle choice.

Jeremy Hunt said he wants to help the sick, disabled and long-term unemployed back into work – accusing Labour of offering compassion through money while Conservatives prefer to give ‘opportunity’.

But the Disability Benefits Consortium, a national coalition of more than 100 charities, described the Government’s plan as a ‘cynical attack on disability benefits (which) will have a devastating impact on those on the lowest incomes’.

Anastasia Berry, policy co-chair of the consortium, said just one in 10 jobs advertised this year has offered home-working as an option, and described access to health and care support, ‘which could keep people in work for longer, including mental health and social care’, as becoming ‘increasingly strained’.

United Response, a member of the consortium, said there is ‘little point forcing people into the wrong job as this will simply lead to a revolving door of staff’ and called for ‘targeted and specialist support’ for people ‘rather than using punitive punishments’.

Further details on state pension increases

Pensioners are set for a bumper 8.5 per cent state pension increase from next April.

Someone on the full, new state pension will see their pension grow from just under £204 per week to just over £221 per week from April 2024.

And someone reaching state pension age before 2016 could see their full, weekly, basic state pension increase from around £156 to about £169.

The 8.5 per cent increase, in line with average earnings growth, was confirmed in the Autumn Statement.

Under the triple lock, the state pension rises each year in line with inflation, earnings or 2.5 per cent – whichever is higher.

More details on possible NatWest share issue

The Government is considering selling shares in NatWest to the general public in the coming year as it moves to offload its stake in the British bank, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has announced.

The retail offer would form part of efforts to reduce the Government’s – and therefore taxpayers’ – stake in the bank, and mean everyday retail investors get the chance to buy a chunk.

The Government currently owns a 38.69 per cent stake in the lender after selling £1.26billion worth of shares back to the firm in May, taking it down from around 41 per cent.

It has been gradually whittling down its shareholding following its near £46billion bailout of Royal Bank of Scotland during the 2008 financial crisis.

Jeremy Hunt pledges £500m for AI development

The Government has pledged to spend £500 million over the next two years on the computing power for AI models to help make the UK a world leader in technology.

In his Autumn Statement, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the funding would help create new ‘innovation centres to help make us an AI powerhouse’.

The Government said the key to the UK creating a world-leading AI ecosystem was access to compute, which helps develop new artificial intelligence foundation models used to power programmes such as AI-powered chatbots and powerful problem-solving and analysis tools used by scientists and researchers.

The additional funding will bring the total planned investment in compute to over £1.5 billion, the Government said, which could allow researchers and start-ups to develop new AI models.

VAT-free shopping for tourists could return

The decision to axe VAT-free shopping for tourists visiting the UK could be reviewed in future, Jeremy Hunt said.

The Chancellor said the Government was ‘looking again at the numbers’ after duty-free shopping was scrapped at the 2022 autumn statement, which has led some to describe the current situation as a ‘tourist tax’.

Conservative MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (the Cotswolds) raised the issue in the Commons following this year’s autumn statement.

He told MPs: ‘There was no mention in his excellent budget of the tourist tax. British tourists going abroad spend billions of pounds benefitting those countries, and yet we actively discourage – and figures show that we are doing so – we actively discourage high-spending tourists coming from abroad and benefitting our shops and hospitality venues.’

Mr Hunt responded: ‘Can I reassure him that we want to do everything possible to make our tourism and our retail industry competitive and we want to encourage international visitors.

‘When we changed policy on this particular issue a year ago, it was because the cost was around £2.5 billion-a-year and we didn’t think we could afford to continue doing it, but we are looking again at the numbers in the light of the most recent data and we can see what has happened to comparative shops in Paris and Milan, and we will review that and see if it is still that expensive, and I hope it isn’t.’

In this photo provided by UK Parliament, from left, Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt, Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt and Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride sit, during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023. (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor via AP)

Two taxes on lorries will be frozen by Treasury

Two taxes on lorries will be frozen to support ‘vital journeys’, the Treasury has announced as part of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement.

Vehicle excise duty (VED) and the heavy goods vehicle (HGV) levy will remain at existing levels during the year from April 1 2024.

The policy is expected to cost the Treasury £105 million over five years.

In a post on social media site X, the Treasury wrote: ‘Every day crucial journeys are made by heavy goods vehicles. From medical supplies delivered to hospitals to food delivered to stores, HGVs matter to our economy.

‘That’s why we’re freezing the HGV levy and road tax for this type of vehicle – protecting vital journeys.’

VED, often referred to as road tax, is paid to the Government by vehicle owners each year. It is based on the type and age of the vehicle.

TUC: ‘A plan for levelling the country down’

Trades Union Congress (TUC) general secretary Paul Nowak said: ‘This is not a plan for rebuilding Britain. It’s a plan for levelling the country down.

‘At a time when our schools and hospitals are crumbling, the Chancellor has confirmed another round of punishing and undeliverable spending cuts to public services and investment.

‘If the Tories win the next election, even more austerity is on the way. Cutting national insurance won’t make up for 13 continued years of economic failure on wages and living standards.

‘Jeremy Hunt has nothing to smile about when working people are on course for a 20-year real wage freeze.

‘The Conservatives have broken Britain. They cannot be trusted to fix it.’

Economic Advisory Council is abolished

The Chancellor has abolished his independent Economic Advisory Council just a year after it was set up.

The Autumn Statement announced that the council, set up by Jeremy Hunt in the wake of the mini-budget, would be stood down.

Documents released along with the autumn statement said: ‘The Government thanks the Council for their expertise, and will continue to seek advice from experts on issues under consideration including long-term economic challenges.’

The council met three times in its first six months, according to Treasury documents.

OBR gives its analysis on financial headroom

All of the Chancellor’s headroom against his debt targets can be attributed to real terms cuts in Government spending, the Office for Budget Responsibility has said.

The OBR said higher inflation had boosted tax receipts, but spending limits for Government departments had not changed meaning they were lower in real terms.

It added that maintaining the level of spending expected in March this year would require an additional £20.5billion by 2028-29 – against headroom of £13 billion.

The OBR forecast said: ‘In this sense, all of the headroom against the fiscal mandate at this event can be attributed to the erosion in the real value of departmental spending.’

Criticism from sick pay campaign

The Chancellor has been accused of missing a ‘golden opportunity’ to help people who become ill while at work.

Amanda Walters, director of the Safe Sick Pay campaign, said that while the Government announced harsher measures for people on out-of-work sickness benefits, it had yet to address the ‘huge financial security problem’ facing those who are ill.

She said: ‘It is deeply disappointing that today’s autumn statement offered nothing on sick pay. The eight million workers on statutory sick pay get just £109 a week and face serious financial trouble if they are unlucky enough to fall ill.

‘Raising sick pay is a sure-fire way of improving health in the working age population and reducing the numbers of people falling on to out-of-work sickness benefits. Jeremy Hunt missed a golden opportunity to do so.’

‘Obscene giveaways’ for the super rich

A senior union leader attacked the Chancellor’s ‘obscene giveaways’ for the super rich, branding his autumn statement a punishment budget for workers.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, described today’s statement as a ‘reheated mini-budget’ of the short-lived government of Liz Truss.

He said: ‘The Chancellor has delivered a ‘Trussonomics’-style autumn statement, with tax cuts for the wealthiest. The multi-millionaire Chancellor has unveiled obscene giveaways for City bankers, property tycoons and others in his own ‘super-rich boss class’.

‘Meanwhile, with his refusal to fund decent pay for workers, public services and relief for the most vulnerable, Jeremy Hunt has shown two fingers to hard-pressed families.

‘It’s diabolical that this Government, led by obscenely wealthy figures like Hunt and Rishi Sunak, has used a budget during a cost-of-living crisis to cut already derisory welfare benefits and to persecute claimants. The Chancellor’s autumn statement will make the poverty epidemic more severe.’

Holocaust charity thanks Government

The Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) has responded to Jeremy Hunt’s announcement that up to £7 million will be committed to tackle antisemitism in schools and universities.

The Chancellor said the funding will be given to organisations, like the HET charity, over three years to combat a rise in antisemitic incidents in education settings.

Karen Pollock, HET chief executive, said: ‘We have seen a shocking rise of anti-Jewish racism on our streets, online, on university campuses and in our schools.

‘Education is the key in combatting the world’s oldest hatred. The Holocaust Educational Trust has worked with Government for years and we thank them for their trust in us and this continued support.’

Economy will ‘grow more slowly’, says OBR

The Office for Budget Responsibility said the economy ‘has proved to be more resilient to the shocks of the pandemic and energy crisis than anticipated’.

But ‘we now expect the economy to grow more slowly over the forecast period’ and ‘inflation is expected to be more persistent and domestically fuelled than we previously thought’.

This persistent inflation boosts tax revenues but also raises the cost of welfare, while higher interest rates add to the expense of servicing the Government’s debt.

And it could add to the squeeze on departmental budgets, which have been left largely untouched despite rising costs.

‘Copy-and-paste shadow chancellor’ claims

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said Labour has ‘nothing credible to say on the economy’.

Responding to Labour in the Commons, he said: ‘I’m afraid the shadow chancellor has shown once again that Labour has nothing credible to say on the economy.

‘She tells the papers this morning that she will accept these measures, as you would expect from a copy-and-paste shadow chancellor.’

He added: ‘Her main policies are not supply-side, it is a demand-side boost to growth by increasing borrowing by £28 billion-a-year with absolutely no plans to repay it.’

And Mr Hunt said Labour should ‘drop their damaging inflationary plan to ramp borrowing up’.

On the NHS, he said: ‘Despite the fact that we’ve had more doctors, more nurses, we’ve had more patients treated in good or outstanding hospitals, again what she didn’t mention is the only place in Britain that NHS funding has been cut is Wales.’

A handout photograph released by the UK Parliament shows Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (L) and Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt attending Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs), in the House of Commons, in London, on November 22, 2023. (Photo by Jessica TAYLOR / UK PARLIAMENT / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO USE FOR ENTERTAINMENT, SATIRICAL, ADVERTISING PURPOSES - MANDATORY CREDIT " AFP PHOTO / Jessica Taylor /UK Parliament" (Photo by JESSICA TAYLOR/UK PARLIAMENT/AFP via Getty Images)

Growth forecast downgraded for future years

While the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has upgraded its GDP growth forecast this year, it has downgraded the figure for subsequent years.

The budget watchdog’s forecast in March was for the economy to shrink by 0.2 per cent in 2023, but that has now been revised up to 0.6 per cent.

But in 2024 growth is forecast to be 0.7 per cent rather than the 1.8 per cent expected at the time of the Budget, 2025 is expected to see 1.4 per cent rather than 2.5 per cent, and 2026 could be 1.9 per cent instead of 2.1 per cent.

Growth is then expected to go beyond the previous forecast, with 2 per cent in 2027, slightly above the 1.9 per cent predicted in March, with 1.7 per cent in 2028.

This graph shows how real GDP per person remains 0.6 per cent below its pre-pandemic peak and is only expected to recover that peak at the start of 2025:

OBR charts

New graph reveals inflation 2.8% forecast

Inflation is set to fall to 2.8 per cent by the end of 2024 before hitting the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target in 2025, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility.

This indicates higher inflation than previously projected by the OBR in spring this year, after it guided towards an inflation rate of 0.9 per cent for 2024.

The most recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) official inflation figure was 4.6 per cent in October, which was released last week.

OBR charts

Brits ‘paying price for economic recklessness’

British people are still paying the price for the Conservatives’ ‘economic recklessness’ following last year’s mini-budget, Labour said.

Speaking in the Commons, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: ‘Just last year we saw the true cost of the Conservatives, when their kamikaze budget crashed the economy leading to market turmoil, pensions put in peril and a spike in interest rates.

‘1.6million families will see their mortgage deals end this year, those remortgaging since July have seen their payments rocket by an average of £220-a-month and next year one-and-a-half million families will face a similar fate.

‘The Conservatives’ economic recklessness inflicted a Tory mortgage penalty on families across the country.’

She added: ‘This Tory economic recklessness is not a theme of the past, the British people are still paying the price and we say never again.’

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves speaking after Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt delivered his autumn statement in the House of Commons in London. Picture date: Wednesday November 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Budget. Photo credit should read: House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire

Tax burden will hit post-war high of 38% of GDP

The tax burden is still set to reach a post-Second World War high of 38 per cent of gross domestic product, the Office for Budget Responsibility said.

‘While personal and business tax cuts reduce the tax burden by half a percentage point, it still rises in each of the next five years to a post-war high of 38 per cent of GDP,’ the OBR said.

Labour ‘have been calling for’ full expensing

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves described plans to make full expensing permanent as another thing that Labour ‘have been calling for’.

She added: ‘That doesn’t make up for the years of uncertainty that businesses have faced with taxes going up and down like a yo-yo, with small and medium businesses who play such a pivotal role in growing our economy left exposed to the Tories’ economic volatility.’

She welcomed the rise in the national living wage to £11.44 an hour, but added: ‘The reality is – of the Conservatives’ record – that average wages for working people have been held back.

‘Under this Government real average weekly wages have increased by just 3 per cent in 13 years, compared to a 27 per cent increase under the last Labour government, worth an additional £120 more every week for someone going out to work every day.’

Removal of VAT from period pants is a ‘victory’

Campaigners say the removal of VAT from period pants is a ‘real victory’ for consumers and reflects their role as an essential product rather than a fashion item or a luxury.

HM Treasury posted on X, shortly after the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, that: ‘Women should be able to choose period products that work for them. Following the scrapping of tampon tax, we’re expanding the 0 per cent rate of VAT on women’s period products to include period underwear. This means better access to period products for women and girls across our country.’

It follows a campaign by brands, retailers, women’s groups and environmentalists dating back to 2021, when the so-called ‘tampon tax’ was dropped from other period products such as pads, tampons and menstrual cups.

However, a 20 per cent tax on period pants, which are designed to be worn as an alternative to using tampons and sanitary towels, continued as they were classified as garments.

Working families ‘on thin ice for too long’

Working families have been ‘skating on thin ice for too long’, Labour said.

Speaking in the Commons, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: ‘The Chancellor and the Prime Minister say that the cost of living crisis is dealt with, now everything might look a little bit better 10,000 feet up in your helicopter, but down here on planet Earth people are approaching Christmas and the year ahead with worry and trepidation.

‘The cost-of-living crisis has hit us harder because Tory mismanagement has left us so exposed, 11 million UK households don’t have enough savings to cover three weeks of living expenses if they needed it.

‘Working families have been skating on thin ice for too long and as their resilience has been eroded, so has our national economy’s.’

Living standards down 3.5% on pre-pandemic

Living standards, as measured by real household disposable income per person, are forecast to be 3.5 per cent lower in 2024/25 than before the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility.

This represents ‘the largest reduction in real living standards since records began in the 1950s’.

Disposable income per person is forecast to return to its pre-pandemic level in 2027/28.

Voters will not trust the Tories, say Labour

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves criticised the Government’s record on investment in public services, claiming voters would not trust them to ‘fix’ the problems faced by the NHS and other services.

Ms Reeves said: ‘It says it all that after 13 years of Tory Government there are still nearly 12,000 NHS computers running on outdated software that is vulnerable to cyber attacks.’

Hitting out at Jeremy Hunt’s record as health secretary, she added: ‘Ten years ago when he was health secretary the now-Chancellor promised a paperless NHS by 2018. Yet today in 2023, 26 NHS trusts are still using fax machines.

‘Why on earth should people who experience deteriorating public services under this Conservative Government trust them to fix it?’

She went on: ‘The Tories have had 13 years to improve public services and they have failed. This is too little too and too late.’

The price of rolling tobacco is set to soar tonight as Jeremy Hunt hammered smokers with huge tax rises in his Autumn Statement.

Announcing his latest financial package to the House of Commons, the Chancellor told MPs he would increase the duty on hand-rolling tobacco.

This will rise by an additional 10 per cent above the tobacco duty escalator.

Here’s the full story from MailOnline’s political correspondent Greg Heffer:

Summary of Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement

Jeremy Hunt used his Autumn Statement to announce tax cuts, tighter welfare rules and further measures aimed at getting more people into work. Here is a summary:

Employee national insurance will be cut by two percentage points, from 12 per cent to 10 per cent, from January 6. Two million self-employed will benefit from the axing of class two national insurance and a cut to class four national insurance to 8 per cent, Mr Hunt said, which he said will save them about £350 a year.

Welfare recipients who do not get a job within 18 months will be forced to take on work experience under plans to get more people into employment, the Government had already announced. Those who do not comply will have their benefits, including access to free prescriptions and legal aid, cut off.

– Universal credit uplift

The Government chose to raise universal credit by September’s 6.7 per cent rate of inflation, despite speculation it could have based the increase on October’s lower rate of 4.6 per cent to save money.

The standard multiplier for rates on high-value properties will increase in line with inflation, while the small business multiplier will freeze for a further year. The 75 per cent rates discount for retail, hospitality and leisure will all be extended for another year.

Pensions will be increased by 8.5 per cent in line with average earnings to £221 a week from April, maintaining the so-called ‘triple-lock’ policy where the amount paid is whichever is highest out of average earnings growth, CPI inflation or 2.5 per cent.

Savers could be given the right to pick the pension scheme their employer pays into, similar to the approach taken by countries like Australia, under proposals being put out to consultation. A £320million plan to help unlock pension fund investment for technology and science schemes was also announced.

The national living wage will rise by £1.02 to £11.44 from April, with the policy extended to cover workers aged 21 and over for the first time rather than 23 and over. It means the lowest paid will receive a boost of £1,800 a year.

Full expensing – a scheme allowing companies to offset investment in machinery and equipment against their tax bills – will be made permanent, Mr Hunt said.

– Alcohol and tobacco duty

Alcohol duty will be frozen until August 1, 2024, meaning no increase in duty on beer, cider, wine or spirits, while tobacco duty will rise.

The freeze on the local housing allowance will be ended, Mr Hunt said. The Chancellor will increase the rate to the 30th percentile of local market rents, which he says will give 1.6 million households an average of £800 of support next year.

Government ‘hasn’t done enough on pensions’

Rachel Reeves said the Government had not gone far enough with its pension reforms.

The shadow Chancellor told the Commons that Labour had led ‘the agenda on growth’, adding: ‘Today we see the Conservatives have released their own poor cover version of what we have already announced.

‘The Chancellor today is talking about unlocking capital by reforming pensions, but Labour would go further, encouraging investment into British start-up firms and scale-up firms, and introducing measures to ensure the consolidation of pension funds so that our pension system gets better returns for savers and for the UK economy.’

ONE EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVING. NO ALTERING OR MANIPULATING. NO USE ON SOCIAL MEDIA UNLESS AGREED BY HOC PHOTOGRAPHY SERVICE. MANDATORY CREDIT: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor Handout photo issued by UK Parliament of (left to right) Darren Jones, shadow chief secretary to the treasury, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, deputy Labour Party leader Angela Rayner, and Lucy Powell shadow leader of the House of Commons, during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. Picture date: Wednesday November 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS PMQs. Photo credit should read: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

‘Perilous’ staffing levels in NHS ‘here to stay’

More patients will be treated in corridors and ‘perilous’ staffing levels are here to stay because of the Government’s plans for the public sector, nurses’ leaders warned.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt told MPs the Government wanted a more “productive state” calling for an annual increase in productivity.

Royal College of Nursing Chief Nurse, Professor Nicola Ranger, said the Chancellor’s statement was ‘short-sighted, not long-term’.

She added: ‘The NHS faces a multibillion-pound deficit – giving away at least £5 billion in tax cuts in place of health spending confirms the NHS is no longer a priority for the Government.

‘The public sector cuts the Chancellor wants instead will mean even longer waits, more patients treated in corridors and perilous staffing levels here to stay.’

National Insurance cut is a ‘vote winner’

Daily Mail columnist Andrew Pierce has described the 2 per cent cut in National Insurance from January as ‘real help for struggling families and a vote winner’:

Concerns over debt if fuel duty stays frozen

Jeremy Hunt may struggle to meet his target of reducing debt over the next five years if he keeps fuel duty frozen, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has said.

In its forecasts published alongside the Chancellor’s autumn statement, the OBR said holding fuel duty at its current level – as chancellors have done since 2011 – would mean ‘debt would no longer be falling in 2027-28’ and remove 43 per cent of Mr Hunt’s ‘headroom’ in 2028-29.

Taxes ‘will be higher at the next election’

Taxes will be higher at the next election than they were at the last, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has said.

She told the Commons that she has ‘long argued that taxes on working people are too high’.

She said: ‘From their failure to uprate income tax or national insurance bands, to forcing councils to raise council tax, the Conservatives have pushed the costs of their failure onto others.

‘But the British people won’t be taken for fools. They know that what has been announced today owes more to the cynicism of a party desperate to cling onto power than the real priorities of this high-tax, low-growth Conservative Government.

‘So I think we can forgive taxpayers for not celebrating when they see the truth behind today’s announcements. Going into this statement the Government had already put in place tax increases worth the equivalent of a 10p increase in national insurance.

‘So today’s 2p cut will not remotely compensate for the tax (increases) already put in place by this Conservative Government. The fact is that taxes will be higher at the next election than they were at the last.’

Post-war high tax burden by 2028, OBR says

Tax changes announced by Jeremy Hunt in the autumn statement reduce the tax burden in the UK by 0.7 per cent of GDP, but it is still forecast to rise in every year to reach a post-war high of 37.7 per cent of GDP by 2028/29, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

Rises in income tax ‘explain most of the increase in this forecast, rising from 10.2 per cent of GDP this year to 11.3 per cent in 2028/29, driven by threshold freezes and strong nominal earnings growth,’ the OBR said in its economic and fiscal outlook.

By 2028/29, frozen thresholds will result in ‘nearly four million additional workers paying income tax, three million more moved to the higher rate, and 400,000 more paying the additional rate’.

Rishi Sunak is ‘arguing against himself’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is ‘arguing against himself’ on national insurance, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves told the Commons.

Addressing the cut in the headline rate of national insurance, she said: ‘I’m old enough to remember when the Prime Minister wanted to put up national insurance.

‘As recently as January last year, he said and I quote, ‘we must go ahead with the increase in the health and care levy, it is progressive in that the burden falls most on those who can most afford it’.

‘Utter nonsense. It was a tax on working people and we opposed it for that very reason. Yet again, the Prime Minister is left arguing against himself.’

Households near new power cables to be paid

Households that live near new power lines will be paid up to £10,000 in order to avoid local protests against the vital infrastructure.

Earlier, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said that he wanted to cut the delays that developers face when trying to build new steel lattice towers and other electricity transmission infrastructure.

Speaking in the Commons, he set out the Government’s response to a recent review by National Grid’s former UK chief executive Nick Winser.

The review warned that the roll-out of new wind farms and nuclear plants could be meaningless without the cables to connect them to the grid and take their electricity to homes and businesses around the country.

Working people are ‘worse off’, says Labour

Working people are ‘worse off’ despite the Government’s promises, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves told the Commons.

After describing the ‘damage’ caused by the Conservatives, she said: ‘Nothing that has been announced today will remotely compensate.

‘Mortgages rising, taxing eating into wages. Inflation high, with prices still going up in the shops. Public services on their knees. And too many families struggling to make ends meet.

‘As the sun begins to set on this divided, out-of-touch, weak Government, the only conclusion that the British people will reach is this: after 13 years of Conservatives the economy is simply not working, and despite all the promises today, working people are still worse off.’

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves speaking after Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt delivered his autumn statement in the House of Commons in London. Picture date: Wednesday November 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Budget. Photo credit should read: House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire

Growth has ‘hit dead end under Conservatives’

Growth has hit a dead end under the Conservatives, Labour said.

Speaking in the Commons following the Autumn Statement, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: ‘Today the chancellor has lifted the lid on 13 years of economic failure.

‘The Chancellor claims that the economy has turned a corner, yet the truth is under the Conservatives growth has hit a dead end.

‘What has been laid bare today is the full scale of the damage that this Government has done to our economy over 13 years.’

Breaking: Rachel Reeves begins response

Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement has now concluded, and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has now stood up.

She says that growth ‘hit a dead end’ under the Tories, adding that the Chancellor’s statement had ‘lifted the lid on 13 years of Conservative failure’.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves speaking after Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt delivered his autumn statement in the House of Commons in London. Picture date: Wednesday November 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Budget. Photo credit should read: House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire

Jeremy Hunt: ‘Sticking to a plan that is working’

Concluding the autumn statement, Jeremy Hunt said the UK could become Europe’s ‘most prosperous’ economy.

The Chancellor added: ‘In the face of global challenges, we have halved inflation, reduced our debt and grown our economy.

‘As a country we are sticking to a plan that is working. This autumn statement for growth will attract £20billion more business investment a year in the next decade, bring tens of thousands more people into work, and support our fastest growing industries.

‘In a package which leaves borrowing lower, debt lower, and keeps inflation falling, we are delivering the biggest business tax cut in modern British history, the largest-ever cut to employee and self-employed national insurance, and the biggest package of tax cuts to be implemented since the 1980s.’

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt delivers his autumn statement in the House of Commons in London. Picture date: Wednesday November 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Budget. Photo credit should read: House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire

Breaking: National insurance cut to 10%

The Chancellor said he would cut the main rate of national insurance for workers from 12 per cent to 10 per cent as of January, telling MPs this change would ‘help 27 million’ by putting extra money in their payslips.

Jeremy Hunt told the Commons he would bring forward urgent legislation to Parliament to introduce the cut in national insurance for employees ‘from January 6, so that people can see the benefit in their payslips at the start of the new year’.

He added: ‘It means someone on the average salary of £35,000 will save over £450. For the average nurse, it is a saving of over £520 and for the typical police officer it is a saving of over £630 every single year.’

Breaking: national insurance cut from January 6

‘Urgent’ legislation will be used to introduce the national insurance cut from January 6, Jeremy Hunt said.

£1.3billion funding for 300,000 unemployed

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the Government will ‘ask for something in return’ when providing a further £1.3billion of funding to help 300,000 people who have been unemployed for over a year.

He said: ‘If after 18 months of intensive support jobseekers have not found a job, we will roll out a programme requiring them to take part in a mandatory work placement to increase their skills and improve their employability. And if they choose not to engage with the work search process for six months, we will close their case and stop their benefits.

‘Taken together with the labour supply measures I announced in the spring, the OBR says we will increase the number of people in work by around 200,000 at the end of the forecast period, permanently increasing the size of the economy.

‘I know some on the benches opposite would prefer to fill those vacancies in a different way. They hanker after a more liberal immigration regime or even dream of bringing back free movement. But Conservatives say we should unlock the potential we have right here at home, which we do with the biggest set of welfare reforms in a decade in today’s autumn statement for growth.’

Jeremy Hunt: I’m cutting taxes ‘responsibly’

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the Office for Budget Responsibility had confirmed he can deliver a package that cuts taxes ‘responsibly and only in a way that did not fuel inflation’, with borrowing lower than forecast in spring and fiscal headroom doubled.

More details on permanent ‘full expensing’

The Chancellor confirmed he would make ‘full expensing’ permanent, describing it as the ‘largest business tax cut in modern British history’.

Jeremy Hunt told the Commons: ‘It means we have not just the lowest headline corporation tax rate in the G7 but its most generous capital allowances.’

He said the reform had been estimated to cost £11billion a year, and stressed he had only brought it forward now it was ‘affordable’.

Mr Hunt claimed the tax change was ‘a huge boost to British competitiveness’, having told MPs: ‘The OBR say it will increase annual investment by around £3 billion a year and a total of £14 billion over the forecast period. We on this side of the House know that the way to back British business is not to borrow more or subsidise more but increase the incentives to invest.’

The Chancellor went on to claim that measures throughout the autumn statement taken together would help to ‘increase business investment in the UK economy by around £20bn a year within a decade’.

Wine inflation still stands at 15.3%

Sarah Coles, head of personal finance at Hargreaves Lansdown, has pointed out that the announcement on alcohol duty does not mean drinkers are off the hook.

She said: ‘Inflation figures out earlier this month showed that the price of fortified wines is up 15.3 per cent and beer is up 12 per cent, thanks in part to higher alcohol duty. It means raising a glass this Christmas will still be an expensive business.’

‘Huge relief’ for wine and spirits industry

The wine and spirits industry has welcomed the freeze to alcohol duty, saying it comes as ‘a huge relief’ to a sector that has ‘taken a battering’.

As well as confirming the ‘Brexit Pubs Guarantee’, which means duty on a pint is always lower than in the shops, the Chancellor has announced the freezing of all alcohol duty until August 1 next year.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) said British businesses were bracing themselves for a second duty increase at the autumn statement, which it said would have come as a ‘punishing blow’ after the Government’s new alcohol duty regime, brought in on August 1, which introduced the largest alcohol tax rise for almost 50 years.

The decision to freeze excise duty came at a time when wine and spirits had seen a near triple digit increase in inflation in the last three months, WSTA said.

Self-employed ‘kept our country running’

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced changes designed to help self-employed workers, hailing them as the people who ‘kept our country running during the pandemic’.

Mr Hunt said: ‘Class 2 national insurance is a flat rate compulsory charge, currently £3.45 a week, paid by self-employed people earning more than £12,570 which gives state pension entitlement.

‘Today, after careful consideration and in recognition of the contribution made by self-employed people to our country, I can announce we are abolishing class 2 national insurance altogether, saving the average self-employed person £192 a year.

‘Access to entitlements and credits will be maintained in full and those who choose to pay voluntarily will still be able to do so.’

Mr Hunt also turned to class 4 national insurance paid at 9 per cent on all earnings between £12,570 and £50,270.

Mr Hunt said: ‘I have decided to cut that tax by one percentage point to 8 per cent from April. Taken together with the abolition of the compulsory class 2 charge, these reforms will save around two million self-employed people an average of £350 a year from April.’

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt delivers his autumn statement in the House of Commons in London. Picture date: Wednesday November 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Budget. Photo credit should read: House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire

Inflation set to fall to 2.8% by the end of 2024

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt told Parliament that inflation – which dropped to 4.6 per cent in October – is set to fall to 2.8 per cent by the end of 2024, before hitting the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target in 2025.

This indicates higher inflation than previously projected by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) in the spring, after it guided towards an inflation rate of 0.9 per cent for 2024.

GDP will grow by 0.6% this year, says OBR

The UK economy will grow slower than previous forecasts from next year and witness a shallower fall in inflation, according to the fiscal watchdog.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said UK gross domestic product (GDP) will grow by 0.6 per cent this year, after it predicted in March a marginal decline this year.

It comes after the Chancellor promised to grow the economy as one of the Government’s five pledges. Here Is the full OBR forecast for November 2023:

Breaking: National insurance cut for self-employed

Some two million self-employed people will benefit from the axing of class 2 national insurance and a cut to class 4 national insurance to 8 per cent, saving them around £350 a year, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said.

Pensioners are to get a boost of almost £18 per week to their state handouts in the Autumn Statement after Jeremy Hunt decided to keep the ‘triple lock’ in place.

The Chancellor confirmed an 8.5 per cent increase in the state pension, increasing the value by £17.33 a week – or more than £900 a year.

Read the full story from MailOnline’s deputy political editor David Wilcock here:

Jeremy Hunt reveals £12,800 saving for pubs

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said he will freeze the small business multiplier for a further year, adding: ‘I have also decided to extend the 75 per cent business rates discount for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for another year too.

‘This will save the average independent pub over £12,800 next year and at a cost of £4.3billion, it is a large tax cut which recognises the role of pubs and high street shops in our communities.’

New policy on government contract bidding

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said that from April 2024 the Government will introduce a condition that any company bidding for large government contracts should demonstrate they pay their own invoices within an average of 55 days, which will reduce ‘progressively’ to 30 days.

Breaking: Potential NatWest share offer

Jeremy Hunt said he would ‘explore options’ for a potential NatWest share offer in the next 12 months, but said it would be ‘subject to supportive market conditions’ and ‘value for money’.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Maureen McLean/Shutterstock (14223753s) A NatWest bank in Slough High Street. Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt is to make his Autumn Budget Statement on Wednesday this week. He is expected to annouce that people will be able to hold multiple ISAs in the same tax year Daily Life, Slough, Berkshire, UK - 20 Nov 2023

Video of state pension announcement

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt sai the Government will increase the state pension by 8.5 per cent to £221.20 a week from April 2024. Here is a video of the announcement:

Breaking: ‘Full expensing’ scheme permanent

The ‘full expensing’ scheme for businesses introduced in March will become permanent, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed, calling it the ‘largest business tax cut in modern British history’.

Jeremy Hunt joke on Keir Starmer and Surrey

Jeremy Hunt also made a jibe at Sir Keir Starmer as he announced a devolution deal in Surrey, telling the Commons: ‘One of those areas will be the leafiest and most charming county in the country, namely Surrey, where of course, the Leader of the Opposition grew up. We don’t always get it right.’

Labour leader Keir Starmer speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. Picture date: Wednesday November 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS PMQs Starmer. Photo credit should read: House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire

More ‘financial incentives’ for freeports

Freeports and investment zones will be given ten years of ‘financial incentives’ rather than five as previously planned, the Chancellor said.

Jeremy Hunt said: ‘Following tenacious representations by the Member for Ynys Mon (Virginia Crosbie) and the unstoppable Mayor of Tees Valley (Ben Houchen), I have today decided to extend the financial incentives for investment zones and tax reliefs for freeports from five years to 10 years. I will also set up a new £150 million investment opportunity fund to catalyse investment into the programme.’

The Chancellor also announced there would be a further three investment zones in the West Midlands, East Midlands and in Greater Manchester, which would ‘help catalyse over £3.4billion of private investment and 65,000 new jobs’.

He said a new investment zone would be based in Wales, ‘in the fantastic region of Wrexham and Flintshire’, which he said he would be visiting on Thursday.

£3million more to tackle paramilitarism

The Chancellor also said the Government would be investing £3million more in tackling paramilitarism in Northern Ireland.

Jeremy Hunt told the Commons: ‘Because we are proudly the Conservative and Unionist Party, I’m announcing £80 million for new Levelling Up Partnerships in Scotland, £500,000 to support the Hay Festival in Wales and £3 million of additional funding to support the successful Tackling Paramilitarism programme in Northern Ireland.’

Plans to make Britain ‘an AI powerhouse’

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said he would invest a further £500 million over the next two years to fund further ‘innovation centres to help make us an AI powerhouse’.

He also said he would create a ‘new simplified R&D tax relief’, adding: ‘I will also reduce the rate at which loss-making companies are taxed within the merged scheme from 25 per cent to 19 per cent and lower the threshold for the additional support for R&D intensive loss-making SMEs that I announced in spring to 30 per cent, benefiting a further 5,000 SMEs.’

Mr Hunt said he would give £5million to Imperial College and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust to set up a Fleming Centre because 2028 marks the centenary of the invention of penicillin by Alexander Fleming.

Mr Hunt said he would also publish a longer-term strategy for advanced manufacturing and green energy sectors, adding the Government will make available £4.5billion of support over the five years to 2030 to attract investment into strategic manufacturing sectors.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt delivers his autumn statement in the House of Commons in London. Picture date: Wednesday November 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Budget. Photo credit should read: House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire

Breaking: ‘Pension pot for life’ announced

Pension savers will have the right to have ‘one pension pot for life’, Jeremy Hunt said.

The Chancellor told MPs: ‘I will also consult on giving savers a legal right to require a new employer to pay pension contributions into their existing pension pot if they choose, meaning people can move to having one pension pot for life.

‘These reforms could help unlock an extra £75 billion of financing for high-growth companies by 2030 and provide an extra £1,000 a year in retirement for an average earner saving from 18.’

Mr Hunt said he would also take forward ‘further capital market reforms, to boost the attractiveness of our markets, and the UK one of the most attractive places to start, grow and list a company’.

Plan to tackle energy grid connection problems

The Chancellor said he would be publishing the Government’s plans to tackle energy grid connection problems after speaking to clean energy companies.

‘After talking to businesses such as National Grid, Octopus Energy and SSE, we today publish our full response to the Winser review and Connections Action Plan,’ Jeremy Hunt said.

He added: ‘These measures will cut grid access delays by 90 per cent and offer up to £10,000 off electricity bills over 10 years for those living closest to new transmission infrastructure. Taken together these planning and grid reforms are estimated to accelerate around £90billion of additional business investment over the next 10 years.’

What’s been announced in Autumn Statement?

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has said the Autumn Statement contains 110 measures he hopes will boost growth. Here is a summary of what’s been announced so far:

The national living wage will rise by £1.02 to £11.44 from April, with the policy extended to cover workers aged 21 and over for the first time, rather than 23 and over. It means the lowest paid will receive a boost of £1,800 a year.

Welfare recipients who do not find a job within 18 months will be forced to undertake work experience under plans to get more people into employment, Government has already announced. Those who do not comply with the rules will have their benefits, including access to free prescriptions and legal aid, cut off.

– Universal Credit uplift

However, the Government chose to uplift Universal Credit by September’s 6.7% rate of inflation, despite speculation that it could instead base the increase on October’s lower rate of 4.6% in order to save money.

Pensions will be increased by 8.5% to £221 a week from April, Mr Hunt said.

Alcohol duty will be frozen until August 1 next year, meaning no increase in duty on beer, cider, wine or spirits, while tobacco duty will increase.

Announcements on planning and housing

On planning, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said it takes ‘too long’ to approve infrastructure projects and business planning applications. He added: ‘Many businesses say they would be willing to pay more if they knew their application would be approved faster.

‘So from next year, working with the Communities Secretary, I will reform the system to allow local authorities to recover the full costs of major business planning applications in return for being required to meet guaranteed faster timelines. If they fail, fees will be refunded automatically with the application being processed free of charge.’

On housing, Mr Hunt said the Government would invest £110million over this year and next to deliver ‘high-quality nutrient mitigation schemes, unlocking 40,000 homes’ and consult on a new permitted development right to allow any house to be converted into two flats provided the exterior remains unaffected.

Breaking: £50million for more apprentices

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced £50 million over the next two years to try to increase the number of apprentices in engineering and ‘key growth sectors’ where there are shortages.

Jeremy Hunt today froze tax on a pint until next summer as he moved to help hard-pressed pubs and drinkers in his Autumn Statement.

But the Chancellor hit smokers in the pocket with a 10 per cent increase in duty on hand-rolling tobacco. Here’s the full story on MailOnline:

110 measures ‘to increase UK’s productivity’

The Chancellor said he planned to introduce 110 measures to increase the UK’s productivity.

Jeremy Hunt told the Commons that the OBR ‘expects the economy to grow by 0.6 per cent this year and 0.7 per cent next year. After that, growth rises to 1.4 per cent in 2025, then 1.9 per cent in 2026, 2 per cent in 2027 and 1.7 per cent in 2028’.

But he added: ‘If we want those numbers to be higher, we need higher productivity.’

He pointed to countries like France and the US where the private sector ‘invests more’, adding: ‘The 110 measures I take today help close that gap by boosting business investment by £20billion a year.

‘They do not involve borrowing more and ramping up debt as some advocate. Instead, they unlock investment with supply-side reforms that back British business in the following areas.’

Government spending 2% of GDP on defence

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the Government would continue to meet its Nato commitment to spend 2 per cent of GDP on defence

On veterans, Mr Hunt said: ‘I will extend national insurance relief for employers of eligible veterans for a further year and provide £10million to support the Veterans’ Places, Pathways and People programme.’

Jeremy Hunt wants a ‘more productive state’

The Chancellor said he wanted to create a ‘more productive state not a bigger one’, as he announced plans to reform public services.

Jeremy Hunt said: ‘That is why I want the public sector to increase productivity growth by at least half a percent a year, the level at which the size of our state starts to reduce as a proportion of GDP.’

He said Laura Trott, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, had met ‘police, fire and ambulance personnel to understand where bureaucracy is holding them back’.

He added: ‘Through this vital work we will ensure that over time the growth in public spending is lower than the growth in the economy whilst always protecting the services the public value.’

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt quotes Lawson on borrowing

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the Government wanted to reduce borrowing, saying: ‘As the late Lord Lawson said, borrowing is just a deferred tax on future generations.’

Mr Hunt, in a message aimed at Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and a dig at former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, said: ‘Both he and I wanted to make a Jeremy Prime Minister.

‘In fairness his party and mine are probably equally relieved we didn’t succeed. But whereas this Jeremy is growing the economy, his one would have crashed it.’

Mr Hunt said, according to the OBR, borrowing is ‘lower this year and next’ before saying: ‘It falls from 4.5 per cent of GDP in 2023/24, to 3 per cent, 2.7 per cent, 2.3 per cent, 1.6 per cent and 1.1 per cent in 2028/29.

‘That means we also meet our second fiscal rule – that public sector borrowing must be below 3 per cent of GDP – not just by the final year, but in almost every single year of the forecast. Some of this improvement is from higher tax receipts from a stronger economy, but we also maintain a disciplined approach to public spending.’

Lord Lawson is pictured on Budget Day outside 11 Downing Street in March 1989:

Budget Day at No 11 Downing Street. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson, and the famous budget case. 14th March 1989. (Photo by Kennedy & Grieve/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

Britain ‘will meet its goal on falling debt’

The Chancellor said the UK would meet its goal of having debt falling as a percentage of GDP.

Jeremy Hunt told the Commons that the economy had ‘outperformed expectations’ since last year’s autumn statement, adding: ‘We therefore meet our fiscal rule to have underlying debt falling as a percentage of GDP in the final year of the forecast, with double the headroom compared to the OBR’s March forecast.

‘And we continue to have the second lowest government debt in the G7 – lower than the United States, Canada, France, Italy or Japan.’

More details on pensions and triple lock

The Chancellor said his fourth measure to help with the cost of living would be to uprate state pensions by 8.5 per cent, ‘one of the largest-ever cash increases of the state pension’.

Jeremy Hunt said: ‘The triple lock has helped lift 250,000 older people out of poverty since it was instituted in 2011 and been a lifeline for many during a period of high inflation.

‘There have been reports that we would uprate it by a lower amount to smooth out the effect of high public sector bonuses in July, but that would have been particularly difficult for one million pensioners whose only income is from the state.

‘So instead, today we honour our commitment to the triple lock in full. From April 2024, we will increase the full new state pension by 8.5 per cent to £221.20 a week, worth up to £900 more a year. That is one of the largest ever cash increases to the state pension – showing a Conservative government will always back our pensioners.’

He added: ‘Including today’s measures, our total commitment to easing cost of living pressures has risen to £104billion.

‘That includes paying around half the cost of the average energy bill since last October and amounts to an average of £3,700 per household.

‘We are able to do that only because we reduced the deficit by 80 per cent ahead of the pandemic, which the party opposite might reflect on, having opposed us every step of the way.’

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt delivers his autumn statement in the House of Commons in London. Picture date: Wednesday November 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Budget. Photo credit should read: House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire

Breaking: Economy will grow 0.6% this year

The Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast that the economy will grow by 0.6 per cent this year and 0.7 per cent in 2024, the Chancellor said.

Breaking: Alcohol duty frozen until August

On alcohol duty, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: ‘As well as confirming our Brexit Pubs Guarantee, which means duty on a pint is always lower than in the shops, I have decided to freeze all alcohol duty until August 1st next year.

‘That means no increase in duty on beer, cider, wine or spirits.’

How Universal Credit is rising next April

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the Government would increase Universal Credit and other benefits from next April by 6.7 per cent – in line with September’s inflation figure.

He said this would be an ‘average increase of £470 for 5.5million households next year’.

On private rents, Mr Hunt said he had heard representations on the need to unfreeze local housing allowance.

He said: ‘I will therefore increase the local housing allowance rate to the 30th percentile of local market rents. This will give 1.6million households an average of £800 of support next year.’

What’s happened so far in Autumn Statement?

Jeremy Hunt has promised a package of measures to boost growth and cut taxes in a highly political autumn statement.

The Chancellor’s speech today, delivered with an eye on a general election expected next year, said his plan will ‘raise business investment, get more people into work, reduce inflation’ and increase the size of the economy.

He said universal credit and other benefits will increase by 6.7 per cent, in line with September’s inflation figure, ending speculation the Government could have used the cheaper October figure.

He said: ‘After a global pandemic and energy crisis, we have taken difficult decisions to put our economy back on track. We have supported families with rising bills, cut borrowing and halved inflation.

‘Rather than a recession, the economy has grown. Rather than falling as predicted, real incomes have risen. Our plan for the British economy is working. But the work is not done.’

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt delivers his autumn statement in the House of Commons in London. Picture date: Wednesday November 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Budget. Photo credit should read: House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire

Breaking: State pension rising by 8.5%

The Government will honour its commitment to the triple lock ‘in full’ by increasing the state pension by 8.5 per cent to £221.20 a week from April 2024, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said.

Government ‘delivering on economic pledges’

The Government is delivering on all three of the Prime Minister’s economic pledges, Jeremy Hunt claimed.

‘Three of the Prime Minister’s five pledges at the start of the year were economic: to halve inflation, grow the economy and reduce debt. Today I can report to the House that we are delivering on all three,’ he said.

The Chancellor also jibed at shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, telling the Commons: ‘Let’s start with inflation. The shadow chancellor didn’t mention it in her conference speech. My conference speech was before hers so all she had to do was a bit of copying and pasting which I’ve heard she’s good at.’

On Ms Reeves’ Labour’s conference speech, he added: ‘It speaks volumes that during the worst global inflation shock for a generation, it didn’t even get a mention.

‘Well, if controlling inflation isn’t a priority for Labour, it is for us. When the Prime Minister and I took office, inflation was at 11.1 per cent. Last week, it fell to 4.6 per cent. We promised to halve inflation and we have halved it.

‘Core inflation is now lower than in nearly half of the economies in the EU, and the OBR say headline inflation will fall to 2.8 per cent by the end of 2024, before falling to the 2 per cent target in 2025.’

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt delivers his autumn statement in the House of Commons in London. Picture date: Wednesday November 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Budget. Photo credit should read: House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire

Breaking: Benefits to rise by 6.7% next year

Universal Credit and other benefits will increase by 6.7 per cent next year in line with September’s inflation figure, Jeremy Hunt revealed today.

Jeremy Hunt ‘won’t take risks with inflation’

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt pledged not to ‘take risks with inflation’.

He added: ‘The OBR confirm that the measures I take today make inflation lower next year than it would otherwise have been.

‘I thank the Independent Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee for their crucial role in bringing down inflation. We will continue to back them to do whatever it takes until the job is done. But as we do, we will continue to support families in difficulty.’

Jeremy Hunt talks of ‘horror’ at Israel conflict

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt expressed his ‘horror’ at the attack on Israeli citizens on October and the subsequent loss of life on both sides.

He said: ‘I am deeply concerned about the rise of antisemitism in our country, so I am announcing up to £7million over the next three years for organisations like the Holocaust Educational Trust to tackle antisemitism in schools and universities.

‘I will also repeat the £3million uplift to the Community Security Trust. When it comes to antisemitism and all forms of racism, we must never allow the clock to be turned back.’

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt delivers his autumn statement in the House of Commons in London. Picture date: Wednesday November 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Budget. Photo credit should read: House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire

Jeremy Hunt launched a bold bid to revive Tory fortunes today by cutting taxes and cracking down on the workshy.

In a crucial Autumn Statement, the Chancellor is drawing battle lines for a long election struggle by starting to reduce the eye-watering burden on businesses and families.

Here is the full story from MailOnline’s political editor James Tapsfield, which he has just published:

Measures to ‘reward effort and work’

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said Conservatives know that a ‘dynamic economy depends on the energy and enterprise of people more than any diktats or decisions by ministers’.

He told MPs: ‘Today’s measures do not just remove barriers to investment, they reward effort and work.’

‘We reduce debt, cut taxes and reward work’

The Government will ‘reduce debt, cut taxes and reward work’, the Chancellor said.

Jeremy Hunt told the Commons: ‘In today’s Autumn Statement for growth our choice is not big government, high spending and high tax because we know that leads to less growth, not more.

‘Instead we reduce debt, cut taxes and reward work. We deliver world class education. We build domestic sustainable energy.

‘And we back British business with 110 growth measures – don’t worry, I’m not going to go through them all – which remove planning red tape, speed up access to the national grid, support entrepreneurs raising capital, get behind our fastest growing industries, unlock foreign direct investment, boost productivity, reform welfare, level up opportunity to every corner of the country, and cut business taxes.’

Jeremy Hunt

‘We have supported families with rising bills’

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt opened his Autumn Statement by joking he arrived in the Commons with ‘good news’ – before noting it was his wife’s birthday.

He told MPs: ‘After a global pandemic and energy crisis we have taken difficult decisions to put our economy back on track.

‘We have supported families with rising bills, cut borrowing and halved inflation.

‘Rather than a recession, the economy has grown. Rather than falling as predicted, real incomes have risen.

‘Our plan for the British economy is working. But the work is not done.’

Government’s plan for economy is ‘working’

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the Government’s plan for the British economy is ‘working’ but added that the ‘work is not done’, as he began his Autumn Statement.

Jeremy Hunt jokes about wife’s birthday

Jeremy Hunt begins with a joke, saying it is his wife Lucia’s birthday today and she is ‘unlike me she is looking younger every year’.

Mrs Hunt and their three children are believed to be watching from the benches in the House of Commons today.

Watch Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement live

You can watch Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement live from the House of Commons now via MailOnline’s YouTube channel.

Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement begins

Here we go… Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has just stood up in the House of Commons, and the Autumn Statement is about to begin.

He has also just tweeted that it will be a ‘plan to boost investment, reform public services and create jobs’:

Get ready for the Autumn Statement

The Autumn Statement will begin shortly. Here are the latest scenes in the House of Commons in London:

Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. Picture date: Wednesday November 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS PMQs Starmer. Photo credit should read: House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire

More debate over NHS waiting lists at PMQs

The Prime Minister’s five pledges ‘ignored the NHS’ because waiting lists are high and have risen, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said.

Sir Keir told the Commons: ‘The reason he ignored the NHS, not only in his new pledges but just now is because 7.8million people are currently on the waiting lists. That’s half-a-million more than when he pledged to bring them down nearly a year ago.

‘And the Prime Minister just claimed that this is all about economic growth… If a labourer or care worker is forced to wait a year for an operation, how are they meant to help grow the economy?’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: ‘We are doing an enormous amount to bring waiting lists down… expanding patient choice, rolling out new community diagnostic centres, new surgical hubs as well as putting more doctors and nurses in our wards.’

He took aim at Labour’s record in Wales, saying: ‘After 25 years in power they are missing every single one of his targets – weren’t they meant to be his blueprint?’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. Picture date: Wednesday November 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS PMQsSunak. Photo credit should read: House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire

Waiting lists for mental health treatment

Labour has demanded to know how many people are on the waiting list for mental health treatment.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions today, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said to Rishi Sunak: ‘On his watch 2.5million people are too sick to work, with the majority also suffering from mental health issues.

‘On top of his failures on waiting lists, can he tell us how many people are waiting for mental health treatment?’

In response, the Prime Minister said: ‘We have injected record sums to expand the number of mental health treatments in our country.’

Government is ‘delivering for this country’

Rishi Sunak has replied to claims by Sir Keir Starmer that the Government had ‘forgotten’ the NHS.

The Prime Minister said: ‘Just weeks after becoming Prime Minister, we injected record funding into the NHS and in social care. We also unveiled the first every long-term workforce plan in the NHS’s 75-year history.’

He added that the Government had halved inflation, had grown the economy and reduced debt, adding: ‘That’s a Conservative Government delivering for this country.’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. Picture date: Wednesday November 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS PMQsSunak. Photo credit should read: House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire

Keir Starmer: Government has ‘forgotten NHS’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has suggested the Government has forgotten the NHS in unveiling five new pledges.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions this afternoon, Sir Keir said: ‘This week the Prime Minister unveiled the latest version of his five pledges for the country.

‘Let’s hope he has more success with these than the last ones – did he forget the NHS?’

Labour leader Keir Starmer speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. Picture date: Wednesday November 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS PMQs Starmer. Photo credit should read: House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire

Rishi Sunak pays tribute to four dead teens

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak began Prime Minister’s Questions by saying the ‘thoughts of the whole house will be with the family and friends of the four teenagers who died in a car accident in North Wales’.

The bodies of Jevon Hirst, Harvey Owen, Wilf Fitchett and Hugo Morris were recovered yesterday from a silver Ford Fiesta in Snowdonia, North Wales.

Watch Prime Minister’s Questions live

You can watch Prime Minister’s Questions live from the House of Commons now via MailOnline’s YouTube channel. It will be followed by the Autumn Statement.

Breaking: Prime Minister’s Questions begins

Rishi Sunak has stood up in the House of Commons and Prime Minister’s Questions has now begun.

Jeremy Hunt will increase benefits in line with inflation in his Autumn Statement today but force more recipients to seek work – even if they are housebound.

The Chancellor will raise handouts by 6.7 per cent next year, in line with September’s inflation rate, after he rejected the idea of using the lower October rate as a benchmark in a decision that will cost £3billion.

Read the full story from MailOnline’s deputy political editor David Wilcock here:

Breaking: Rishi Sunak leaves Downing Street

We’ve just been sent pictures of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaving 10 Downing Street on the morning of the Autumn Statement en route to the House of Commons:

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Maureen McLean/Shutterstock (14225968a) Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves No 10 Downing Street in London on the morning of the Autumn Statement en route to the House of Commons Autumn Statement, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Whitehall, London, UK - 22 Nov 2023
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Maureen McLean/Shutterstock (14225968d) Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves No 10 Downing Street in London on the morning of the Autumn Statement en route to the House of Commons Autumn Statement, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Whitehall, London, UK - 22 Nov 2023

100,000 people on benefits is ‘wrong’

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt told Cabinet that it was ‘economically and morally wrong’ that 100,000 people were on benefits with no requirement to look for work.

A Downing Street spokesman said: ‘The Chancellor said that his statement was one that backs business and rewards workers to get Britain growing.

‘He particularly pointed to tackling the problem of 100,000 people being signed onto benefits with no requirements to look for work because of sickness or disability, saying that it is a waste of potential that is both economically and morally wrong and that the back-to-work plan would support over a million people to find work.

‘The Prime Minister concluded Cabinet by saying it was no accident that stability had been restored to the economy and that inflation had halved – it was the result of actions taken by the Government.

‘He said the Government would now turn its focus to the long-term decisions needed to grow the economy further and build a brighter future – with the autumn statement delivering on that change.’

What happened at today’s Cabinet meeting?

The Daily Mail’s deputy political editor Harriet Line has just revealed what Rishi Sunak told the Cabinet this morning.

She reports that the Prime Minister said the UK’s economic policy could ‘change gear’ after the success in halving inflation – with ‘a focus on reducing debt, cutting tax and rewarding hard work’:

The government has announced a rise in the National Living Wage that will see it increase from April 2024.

It follows a recommendation by the Low Pay Commission (LPC) in October 2023 to hike the base minimum wage rate.

So, what exactly is the minimum wage and how much is it increasing by? Read our explainer for everything you need to know about the minimum wage increase.

The attention of savers and investors will be focused on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to see what changes he may have in store for their nest eggs.

Many rumours have been swirling around in anticipation of what changes the Autumn Statement could bring for Isas.

Here, This Is Money reporter Helen Kirrane looks at the changes experts expect or hope to see for savers and investors – and who these changes would benefit most.

Video shows Jeremy Hunt leaving Downing St

Here’s a video of the moment Chancellor Jeremy Hunt left 11 Downing Street this morning to get into a car that took him to Parliament.

What is happening to national insurance?

Jeremy Hunt is expected to announce plans to cut national insurance during his Autumn Statement announcement in the Commons today.

He is expected to offer the reduction for 28million workers.

A one percentage point cut in national insurance contributions would cost the Treasury about £5 billion and be worth about £380 a year to an individual earning more than £50,000, The Times reported.

Cabinet members dodge tax cuts question

Cabinet members have been asked this morning whether this is the ‘right time for tax cuts’ – but they dodged the question, as this video on MailOnline shows:

Autumn Statement ‘to help entrepreneurs’

Jeremy Hunt says he hopes the Autumn Statement’s measures will make a ‘really big difference’ to entrepreneurs.

In a social media video that has just been posted, the Chancellor said the statement had ‘110 different measures to help grow the British economy’.

‘I’m thinking of my own business, that I set up over 30 years ago,’ the Chancellor said. ‘I want to help thousands of other people do what I did, and I hope today will make a really big difference.’

Photos show Jeremy Hunt leaving Downing St

We’re now receiving the first photographs of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt leaving 11 Downing Street on his way to present his Autumn Statement in the House of Commons this morning:

Mandatory Credit: Photo by James Veysey/Shutterstock (14225235h) Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer leaves a Cabinet Meeting in Downing Street Politicians in London, UK - 22 Nov 2023
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt leaves 11 Downing Street on his way to present his Autumn Statement in the House of Commons, in London, Britain, November 22, 2023. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt leaves 11 Downing Street, London, for the House of Commons to deliver his autumn statement. Picture date: Wednesday November 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Budget. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Breaking: Jeremy Hunt leaves Downing St

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has just left Downing Street as he travels to the House of Commons by car to deliver his Autumn Statement.

Jeremy Hunt

‘Buoyant’ mood after Cabinet meeting today

MailOnline’s political editor James Tapsfield describes the mood following the Cabinet meeting at Downing Street this morning as ‘buoyant’.

Jeremy Hunt set to leave Downing Street

We’re expecting Jeremy Hunt to depart Downing Street soon as the Chancellor prepares to deliver his Autumn Statement in the House of Commons.

FTSE 100 trading level after opening rise

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index rose 0.3 per cent to 7,502 soon after opening this morning, but is currently trading roughly level (0.05 per cent down) at 7,477.

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, said it was a ‘muted early trading session … as the rumour mill continues to grind about the seasoning Jeremy Hunt plans to sprinkle into the UK economy to try and improve its growth prospects’.

She added: ‘Investors will be highly attuned to what the Chancellor plans as part of that recipe and tax cuts now look set to be a key ingredient, even though they risk turning up the heat on inflation.’

Ups and downs in the Autumn Statement

MailOnline’s deputy political editor David Wilcock has just tweeted the followiong handy round-up of what we are expecting in the Autumn Statement today:

Cabinet meeting finishes as ministers leave

Ministers are now leaving 10 Downing Street following a Cabinet meeting this morning. They are pictured below (from top, and from left):

  • Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron and Foreign Office Minister Andrew Mitchell
  • Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris and Education Secretary Gillian Keegan
  • Home Secretary James Cleverly
  • Health Secretary Victoria Atkins
Mandatory Credit: Photo by James Veysey/Shutterstock (14225235d) David Cameron, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs and Andrew Mitchell, Minister of State of the United Kingdom for Development and Africa leave a Cabinet Meeting in Downing Street Politicians in London, UK - 22 Nov 2023
Mandatory Credit: Photo by James Veysey/Shutterstock (14225235e) Chris Heaton-Harris, United Kingdom Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Gillian Keegan, Secretary of State for Education leave a Cabinet Meeting in Downing Street Politicians in London, UK - 22 Nov 2023
Mandatory Credit: Photo by James Veysey/Shutterstock (14225235c) James Cleverly, Secretary of State for the Home Department leaves a Cabinet Meeting in Downing Street Politicians in London, UK - 22 Nov 2023
Mandatory Credit: Photo by James Veysey/Shutterstock (14225235f) Victoria Atkins, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care leaves a Cabinet Meeting in Downing Street Politicians in London, UK - 22 Nov 2023

Video shows arrivals at 10 Downing Street

Ministers including Lord David Cameron and Grant Shapps have been arriving at Downing Street this morning. Watch them walking into No.10 in this video:

Pensioners are to get a boost of almost £18 per week to their state handouts in the Autumn Statement after Jeremy Hunt decided to keep the ‘triple lock’ on place.

The Chancellor signed off an 8.5 per cent increase in the state pension, increasing the value of the new state pension by £17.33 a week – or more than £900 a year.

Read the full story from MailOnline’s deputy political editor David Wilcock here:

Answers to Cabinet Ministers quiz

So how many of those Cabinet Ministers did you identify from the photographs taken outside Downing Street today? Here are all nine – listed from top to bottom:

  • Home Secretary James Cleverly
  • Education Secretary Gillian Keegan
  • Defence Secretary Grant Shapps
  • Chief Secretary to the Treasury Laura Trott (L) and Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho (R)
  • Health Secretary Victoria Atkins
  • Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris
  • Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron
  • Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer

Croissants at the ready for Autumn Statement

It will be a busy day for financial experts today. Hargreaves Lansdown retirement spokesperson Helen Morrissey has got her ‘Autumn Statement fuel’ ready!

Arrivals at Downing Street for Cabinet meeting

What is the current UK inflation rate?

Last week it was revealed inflation had eased to 4.6 per cent in October from a year earlier – after hitting a 41-year high of 11.1 per cent in the same month of 2022.

It means the Government has met its target of halving inflation by the end of 2023.

‘People are paying more tax’, says Labour

Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Darren Jones has been on Sky News this morning talking to Kay Burley about the Autumn Statement.

Mr Jones said Jeremy Hunt is a ‘more capable’ Chancellor than Kwasi Kwarteng, but added that ‘people are paying more tax and paying more for their mortgage’.

House of Commons schedule for today

Here is the expected schedule for the House of Commons today:

  • 11.30am: Northern Ireland questions
  • 12pm: Prime Minister’s Questions with Rishi Sunak
  • 12.30pm: Autumn Statement from Chancellor Jeremy Hunt
  • 1.15pm: Debate on the Autumn Statement

Where can you watch the Autumn Statement?

MailOnline will bring you live video coverage from 12pm today of Prime Minister’s Questions followed by the Autumn Statement. It will be on this YouTube link:

Photos show boxes on Treasury steps

Boxes are being delivered to the steps of the Treasury in Westminster this morning which are believed to containing embargoed copies of the Autumn Statement:

Boxes delivered to the steps of HM Treasury this morning 'believed' to be containing Embargoed copies of the Autumn Statement to be announced by the Chancellor of The Exchequer Jeremy Hunt. (NOTE: Personal Phone Number removed).22/11/2023. London, United Kingdom.Picture by ©Nigel Howard / ©Nigel Howard MediaEmail: nigelhowardmedia@gmail.com

Breaking: David Cameron at Downing Street

Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron has just arrived at Downing Street ahead of the Autumn Statement:

© Licensed to London News Pictures. 22/11/2023. London, UK. Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron arrives at Downing Street ahead of the Autumn Statement. Later Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will deliver his Autumn Statement to Parliament. Photo credit: Peter Macdiarmid/LNP

Autumn Statement updates on Twitter

You can also follow updates on the Autumn Statement on MailOnline’s social media channels today, including on X – formerly known as Twitter:

BBC and ITV reporters on Autumn Statement

Here’s what the political correspondents on the morning TV shows BBC Breakfast and ITV’s Good Morning Britain have been saying about today’s Autumn Statement:

MailOnline’s political editor James Tapsfield has just published a new story on the Autumn Statement, in which he reveals Jeremy Hunt will vow to ‘get Britain growing’.

The Chancellor will make the Tories’ pitch to voters today by cutting taxes and cracking down on the workshy in what is a crucial Autumn Statement.

Read the full story here, as Mr Hunt draws battle lines for a long election struggle by starting to reduce the eye-watering burden on businesses and families:

Breaking: FTSE 100 opens up by 0.2%

The FTSE 100 index has just opened up by 17 points or 0.23 per cent to 7,499.

Here’s what financial expert David Buik has to say about it:

Breaking: Sir Keir Starmer leaves home

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has just been photographed leaving his home this morning ahead of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement later on:

22 November 2023.Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer leaves his home for Parliament to attend Prime Minister's Questions on 22nd November 2023 in London, UK. Later today, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will present his Autumn Statement to Parliament.Pictured: Keir StarmerCredit: TS/GoffPhotos.com   Ref: KGC-254
22 November 2023.Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer leaves his home for Parliament to attend Prime Minister's Questions on 22nd November 2023 in London, UK. Later today, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will present his Autumn Statement to Parliament.Pictured: Keir StarmerCredit: TS/GoffPhotos.com   Ref: KGC-254

BCC calls to extend business rates relief

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has reiterated what it wants to see in today’s Autumn Statement – including extending business rates relief:

Sunrise in London before Autumn Statement

Photographers have been out early capturing pictures of sunrise in London this morning ahead of the Autumn Statement in the House of Commons:

A plane flies past the London Eye in London, Britain, November 22, 2023. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Amer Ghazzal/Shutterstock (14225659i) Colourful sunrise with orange sky over Wimbledon, south west London on a cold frosty morning Seasonal Weather, Wimbledon, London, United Kingdom - 22 Nov 2023
A bus passes near the Houses of Parliament, on the day Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt presents his Autumn Statement in the House of Commons, in London, Britain, November 22, 2023. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

How much ‘headroom’ for Jeremy Hunt?

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is expected to have some ‘headroom’ in order to meet his ‘fiscal rules’ of having debt falling in five years and for borrowing to be less than 3 per cent of GDP in that year.

The ‘headroom’ figure will be disclosed in the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts published alongside the Autumn Statement today.

But reports suggest it could be as much as £20billion, freeing up Mr Hunt to cut taxes in the run-up to the general election next year in an effort to keep the Tories in office.

Limited tax cuts proposed by Damian Green

The most limited programme of tax cuts has been proposed by the moderate One Nation group, chaired by former deputy prime minister Damian Green.

In a report prepared by former minister Stephen Hammond and published on Monday, the group’s main tax cut focuses on businesses, with a call for the ‘full expensing’ regime introduced in March’s Budget to be made permanent and extended to cover research and development.

The regime, which allows businesses to offset investment in machinery against their tax bills, is currently temporary but has been seen as a key method for boosting business investment.

Otherwise, the One Nation group has largely warned against significant tax cuts. Instead, the group has suggested rebalancing taxes to ensure that all income – whether from salaries, dividends or capital gains – is taxed equally.

Autumn Statement’s impact on the North

While most of the focus ahead of the Autumn Statement has been on tax cuts, there are further trade-offs that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will have to consider.

One is the level of investment by the Government in the areas the Conservatives won for the first time in 2019, mostly in the North and Midlands.

Many first-time Conservative voters will have been persuaded by Boris Johnson’s promise of ‘levelling up’ and greater investment in public services, while more traditional Tory voters in southern areas may prefer a greater focus on tax cuts.

If the Chancellor chooses to use his ‘headroom’ to pay for tax cuts, that will leave less money available for the investment that some voters are looking for at a time when public services are increasingly strained.

Savers will be allowed to open a ‘pension pot for life’ that all current and future employers can pay into under plans which may be in the Autumn Statement today.

The move is said to be part of a wider package of pension changes aimed at using the nation’s retirement savings to boost UK economic growth.

Read the full explainer from This Is Money reporter Tanya Jefferies:

Darren Jones to appear on Sky News at 8.15am

Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Darren Jones is expected to appear on Sky News within the next 15 minutes to talk about the Autumn Statement:

Calls for more tax relief to the self-employed

Other groups of Conservative MPs have lent their support to tax cuts in recent months, including the New Conservatives, a group of northern and Midlands MPs elected in 2019.

Their specific proposals have been a mix of personal and small business cuts, including raising the VAT threshold to £250,000, scrapping the high income child benefit charge, and changing the rules to give more relief to the self-employed.

Here is the group’s full plan which it posted on social media yesterday:

Liz Truss allies want broad sweep of cuts

Allies of former prime minister Liz Truss have pushed for a broad sweep of cuts to both business and personal taxes, with the former prime minister’s Growth Commission publishing its recommendations last week.

Among those recommendations is cutting corporation tax from 25 per cent to 19 per cent, with a long-term plan to reduce the duty to 15 per cent, and reducing the burden of income tax and national insurance to pre-pandemic levels.

This latter cut might not involve a reduction in the headline rate, but rather the unfreezing of personal allowances and the reintroduction of the personal allowance for those earning more than £100,000 a year.

The Truss-backed Growth Commission also recommends considering cutting or abolishing inheritance tax – something senior Tories such as Nadhim Zahawi have called for – and stamp duty.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Mark Thomas/Shutterstock (14209341i) Former Prime Minister, Liz Truss. Launch of the The Growth Budget in Westminster by The Growth Commission. The event was attended by Former Prime Minister, Liz Truss, Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and Lord Frost as well as jounalists and economists. The Growth Budget Launch, London, UK - 14 Nov 2023

Backbench splits complicate Jeremy Hunt’s job

As the Chancellor prepares to deliver his Autumn Statement today, he will have more than half an eye on the competing demands of different Conservative factions.

The central split has been over taxes – which to cut and how far to cut them, with different backbench groups pushing different priorities.

The past year has seen some division over whether to cut taxes at all. While virtually all Conservative MPs believe the overall tax burden is too high, Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt have repeatedly stressed the need to balance tax cuts with fiscal responsibility and ‘balancing the books’.

Even last month, Mr Hunt was warning that a large tax cut would be ‘inflationary’ and suggesting the state of public finances would not allow room for cuts.

That debate now appears to have been settled, with Mr Sunak signalling on Monday that a fall in inflation meant he could start to reduce taxes.

‘Working people are worse off’, say Labour

Ahead of the Autumn Statement, the Labour Party have also been having their say.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: ‘After 13 years of economic failure under the Conservatives, working people are worse off.

‘Prices are still rising in the shops, energy bills are up and mortgage payments are higher after the Conservatives crashed the economy.

‘The 25 Tory tax rises since 2019 are the clearest sign of economic failure, with households paying £4,000 more in tax each year than they did in 2010.

‘The Conservatives have become the party of high tax because they are the party of low growth. Nothing the Chancellor says or does in his autumn statement can change their appalling record.’

What’s happening to the National Living Wage

For almost three million workers, the Government has already announced an increase in the national living wage, which will rise from £10.42 to £11.44 from April, with the policy also extended to cover workers aged 21 and over, rather than 23 and over.

It will mean an £1,800 annual pay rise next year for a full-time worker on the living wage, while 18 to 20-year-olds will receive a £1.11 hourly rise to £8.60.

What Jeremy Hunt will say in Autumn Statement

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will tell MPs: ‘The Conservatives will reject big government, high spending and high tax because we know that leads to less growth, not more.’

With the Bank of England forecasting a stagnant economy in 2024, Mr Hunt will insist his plan can deliver growth and reduce the national debt.

‘After a global pandemic and energy crisis, we have taken difficult decisions to put our economy back on track,’ he will say. ‘We have supported families with rising bills, cut borrowing and halved inflation. The economy has grown. Real incomes have risen. Our plan for the British economy is working.

‘But the work is not done. Conservatives know that a dynamic economy depends less on the decisions and diktats of ministers than on the energy and enterprise of the British people.’

110 growth measures in Autumn Statement

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is expected to use his Autumn Statement to reduce headline rates of national insurance and make permanent a £10billion-a-year tax break for companies that invest in new machinery and equipment.

His deputy Laura Trott had already indicated that individuals would benefit from a giveaway as well as measures aimed at boosting business.

Mr Hunt’s Commons statement today is expected to contain 110 different growth measures as he seeks to revive the UK’s economy and the Tories’ election chances.

As the country awaits the Autumn Statement, the Bank of England has stepped up its battle against City expectations of an interest rate cut.

Bank governor Andrew Bailey claimed traders were placing ‘too much weight’ on recent figures showing that inflation has plunged to less than 5 per cent.

Read the full story in the Daily Mail from business reporter John-Paul Ford Rojas:

Can the Government afford tax cuts?

The tax burden is at a 70-year high after the shocks of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine war, but national debt is still around 97.8 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the size of the economy, and the Government has borrowed almost £100billion so far this financial year.

But this budget deficit is lower than forecast and – crucially for Chancellor Jeremy Hunt – he is expected to have some ‘headroom’ in order to meet his ‘fiscal rules’ of having debt falling in five years and for borrowing to be less than 3 per cent of GDP in that year.

Photos of 11 Downing Street this morning

We’ve just been sent these photographs from Reuters of lights illuminating the entrance of 11 Downing Street – the official residence of the Chancellor – on the day Jeremy Hunt presents his Autumn Statement in the House of Commons.

Lights illuminate the entrance of 11 Downing Street, the official residence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on the day Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt presents his Autumn Statement in the House of Commons, in London, Britain, November 22, 2023. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
A view of the door to 11 Downing Street, the official residence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on the day Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt presents his Autumn Statement in the House of Commons, in London, Britain, November 22, 2023. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

What will happen to taxes today?

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that now his goal of halving inflation has been met, the Government can work on reducing the tax burden.

Measures are likely to include tax breaks for business investment, but Mr Sunak has also said he wants to ‘reward hard work’ – which hints at cuts to income tax or national insurance.

Photos of Jeremy Hunt preparing statement

Ahead of the Autumn Statement, photographer Kirsty O’Connor took a series of photographs for the Treasury of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt making final preparations:

The Chancellor prepares for the Autumn Statement 2023Chancellor Jeremy Hunt prepares for the Autumn Statement 2023 in his kitchen in the No 11 flat, with his dog Poppy. Picture by Kirsty O'Connor/HM Treasury
The Chancellor prepares for the Autumn Statement 2023Chancellor Jeremy Hunt prepares for the Autumn Statement 2023. Picture by Kirsty O'Connor/HM Treasury
The Chancellor prepares for the Autumn Statement 2023Chancellor Jeremy Hunt prepares for the Autumn Statement 2023. Picture by Kirsty O'Connor/HM Treasury
The Chancellor prepares for the Autumn Statement 2023Chancellor Jeremy Hunt prepares for the Autumn Statement 2023. Picture by Kirsty O'Connor/HM Treasury

Jeremy Hunt is ‘more positive’ on outlook

Earlier this week, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt hailed a ‘more positive’ economic outlook ahead of the Autumn Statement.

Watch his comments at the CBI conference in London in this video:

Ahead of the Autumn Statement, the Treasury announced last night that the National Living Wage will increase by more than a pound an hour from April.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said that the pay threshold will rise from £10.42 per hour to £11.44, the largest increase in more than a decade.

Read the full story from MailOnline’s deputy political editor David Wilcock:

What is expected in the Autumn Statement?

The Treasury has already signalled a series of measures that will be in the speech, including a £320million plan to help unlock pension fund investment for technology and science schemes.

We are also expecting reforms to speed up planning for energy infrastructure and cut bills for those living near pylons, a drive to increase public sector productivity and a new ‘back to work’ agenda to get people off welfare and into jobs.

The Daily Mail’s City Editor Alex Brummer has written in today’s newspaper about how decisions made at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and when Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022 provide ‘much of the backcloth to today’s Autumn Statement’.

Read his full article on MailOnline by clicking below:

When and where is the Autumn Statement?

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will set out his plans for the economy in the House of Commons in Westminster at around 12.30pm this afternoon.

What is the Autumn Statement?

The Autumn Statement is the Chancellor’s main opportunity to make tax and spending announcements outside of the Budget.

Jeremy Hunt will unveil modern Britain’s ‘biggest ever’ business tax cut as he sets out his new plans to boost the economy and ease the burden on working families.

The Chancellor will try to rebuild the Tories’ reputation as a low-tax party with a targeted package of measures aimed at helping both business and families.

Read the full story on MailOnline here ahead of the Autumn Statement:

Welcome to our Autumn Statement liveblog

Good morning and welcome to MailOnline’s live coverage of today’s Autumn Statement.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is expected to declare the economy is ‘back on track’ as he starts cutting taxes and pushes for business growth ahead of next year’s election.

Stay with us throughout today for all the latest updates, with the statement expected in the Commons at 12.30pm.

Key Updates

  • What’s been announced in Autumn Statement?

  • £50million for more apprentices

  • Economy will grow 0.6% this year

  • Alcohol duty frozen until August

  • State pension rising by 8.5%

  • Benefits to rise by 6.7% next year





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