Autumn Budget: Key points from chancellor’s statement
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has defended his autumn statement and denied that he is deferring difficult decisions, with many of the harshest cuts not due to come into effect until after the next general election.
“I think that a Conservative chancellor who stands up in the Commons and announced £25 billion of tax rises, I don’t think anyone would say that is deferring a horrible decision,” he said on ITV’s Peston programme.
In an interview with BBC’s political editor Chris Mason he said his plan would bring down inflation.
“These are real challenges for families up and down the country,” he said.
“I’m not pretending these aren’t going to be difficult times, but there’s a plan, there’s hope – and if we follow this plan, if we stick with it, we can get through to the other side.”
Former cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg was among those within Mr Hunt’s party who criticised the statement, accusing the chancellor of taking the “easy option” of putting up taxes.
Mr Hunt set out plans for almost £25bn in tax increases and more than £30bn in spending cuts by 2027-28
Hunt denies deferring ‘horrible decision’ until after election
Jeremy Hunt denied deferring “a horrible decision” in his autumn statement despite postponing spending cuts until after the next elections.
The chancellor told ITV’s Peston programme: “Well I think that a Conservative Chancellor who stands up in the Commons and announces £25 billion of tax rises, I don’t think anyone would say that is deferring a horrible decision.
“That is confronting this problem head on and what support we can give to the economy in the next two years, of course we do while we’re going through a recession.
“But in the end what the country wants, what families want, is the confidence that comes from honesty about the problems but also having a plan in place that gives them hope for the future that we can get through this, as we absolutely can.”
Sravasti Dasgupta18 November 2022 04:50
Hunt warns of ‘real challenges’ for families
Jeremy Hunt has warned of real challenges for families while defending his autumn statement.
In an interview with BBC’s political editor Chris Mason, Mr Hunt said: “These are real challenges for families up and down the country.”
“I’m not pretending these aren’t going to be difficult times, but there’s a plan, there’s hope – and if we follow this plan, if we stick with it, we can get through to the other side.
“We need to be sensible about the way we do this. We don’t want to make the recession worse.”
He also denied that he had been forced to raise taxes and reduce spending because of the turmoil caused by former prime minister Liz Truss’s mini-Budget.
He said that the government had “corrected” mistakes within weeks.
Sravasti Dasgupta18 November 2022 04:30
What the budget means for the UK’s effort to tackle climate change
Jeremy Hunt’s autumn Budget will not mirror the wish list of policies advocated by environmentalists and climate campaigners in the UK and abroad.
But there are some bright spots that many will find reassuring after months of concern about the growing influence of the net-zero sceptical wing of the Conservative Party.
Unveiling his statement, Mr Hunt said the UK remained “fully committed” to the Glasgow Climate Pact agreed at Cop26 last year, including meeting a 68 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, he added.
Those words were welcomed by environmentalists, who are anxiously awaiting the final outcome of the Cop27 summit in Egypt that is due to draw to a close on Friday. But, as ever, the devil is in the detail.
Natalie Crockett18 November 2022 03:30
ICYMI: All the key points in the autumn Budget
Jeremy Hunt has delivered his autumn statement, confirming tax rises for millions and deep public spending cuts as he seeks to repair the public finances following a series of shocks to the economy.
The chancellor said his plan would aim to “rebuild our economy” in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic, Liz Truss’s disastrous September mini-Budget and Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, which is fuelling rampant inflation.
Addressing MPs in the House of Commons on Thursday morning, Mr Hunt said the government’s priorities “are stability, growth, and public services”. He also vowed to “protect the most vulnerable.”
Natalie Crockett18 November 2022 03:00
A ‘Budget for the embattled high street’
Businesses have welcomed the chancellor’s £13.6 billion package of property tax support.
The move means business rates will no longer be hiked in line with double-digit inflation from April.
The Treasury also pledged to increase rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure firms from 50 per cent to 75 per cent for 2023 to 2024.
Robert Hayton, the UK president of real estate adviser Altus Group, praised the autumn statement as a “budget for the embattled high street” that has listened to and acted upon the concerns voiced by retailers.
He said: “This is a budget for the embattled high street where rents have been in decline for a number of years.”
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which works with more than 5,000 business members, said the announcements showed the government has “heard the concerns of the retail industry”.
“This autumn statement supports retailers by reducing upwards pressure on prices in the short term, and helping retailers protect jobs, keep shops open, and protect the vibrancy of local communities.”
Natalie Crockett18 November 2022 02:30
Jeremy Hunt has fended off criticism of his autumn budget and denied that he put off difficult decisions, despite delaying spending cuts until after the next general election.
Mr Hunt told ITV’s Peston programme: “I think that a Conservative chancellor who stands up in the Commons and announced £25 billion of tax rises, I don’t think anyone would say that is deferring a horrible decision.
“That is confronting this problem head-on and what support we can give to the economy in the next two years, of course we do while we’re going through a recession.
“In the end, what the country wants, what families want, is the confidence that comes from honesty about the problems, but also having a plan in place that gives them hope for the future that we can get through this, as we absolutely can.”
Natalie Crockett18 November 2022 02:00
Benefits rises ‘too little too late’
Benefits claimants facing a “dark” Christmas due to tightened finances have said rises promised in Jeremy Hunt’s budget will come “too late”.
The chancellor pledged a cost-of-living payment of £900 to households on means-tested benefits and £150 for disability benefit claimants. Disability and working-age benefits will also rise by 10.1%, in line with September inflation, from April next year.
While the increase was welcomed by many, others told the PA news agency the support comes “too late”.
Jason Alcock, 51, a disabled widower who was forced to sell his dead wife’s possessions to cover his living costs, questioned why the help wouldn’t come before April. “We need it now,” said Mr Alcock, from Stoke-on-Trent.
“We’re going to have a really cold winter and people are going to die because they’re not going to turn on their heating.”
Nicholas Wilson, 65, from Hastings, East Sussex, faces losing his home because increasing mortgage costs have outgrown his benefits allowance.
“It’s a good thing, but 10.1% of very little is still very little,” Mr Wilson told PA.
“It’s coming too late… we’ve got winter to get through with fuel bills.
“Something needs to be done now, effective straight away… it’s a typical Tory budget – hammers the poor and protects the rich.”
Natalie Crockett18 November 2022 01:30
UK recession ‘very bad news’ for Ireland
The Irish deputy premier has vowed that the UK won’t drag Ireland into a recession.
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said news that the UK economy would shrink 2% by 2024 was “very bad news”, as it is one of Ireland’s biggest trading partners as well as its nearest neighbour.
“Anything that happens in their economy will affect ours,” he said.
Mr Varadkar, who is set to return as Irish premier (Taoiseach) next month, blamed not just the war in Ukraine, but also Brexit and some recent policy decisions by the UK government.
“Those are the factors … but I don’t believe they’re dragging us into recession,” he said.
“Our economy decoupled from theirs a long time ago … it’s still our expectation that next year our economy will grow slightly and employment will continue to grow as well.”
Natalie Crockett18 November 2022 01:00
Hunt’s statement ‘better than what we might have seen from some Tories in the past’
Scottish First minister Nicola Sturgeon has said there was “no good gloss” that can be put on Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement.
Speaking on the Peston show on Thursday evening, Ms Sturgeon said the Tories had started with a “massive black hole” that was “largely created by their own incompetence”.
But she said Jeremy Hunt’s approach to the statement was “better than what we might have seen from some Tories in the past”.
“That is a lot of spin to try to cover up I think a really, really grim situation. You know, we are seeing a tax rises, spending cuts, budgets being eroded by inflation, household incomes over the next two years are projected to reduce in real terms by 7 per cent, the UK in recession, so I’m not sure there is any good gloss that can be put on the announcements that the chancellor had to make today.”
Asked if the Scottish government would follow suit with tax increases, she said the Scottish government would look at the options ahead of its budget statement in mid-December and put forward a “progressive approach” designed to “protect public services” as much as possible.
Natalie Crockett18 November 2022 00:30
Grim historic milestones facing economy
Households face four significant economic milestones, including the biggest drop in disposable income since records began, taking living standards back to levels last seen in 2013-1:
Jane Dalton18 November 2022 00:01