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Martin Lewis reveals snap verdict on budget as Jeremy Hunt reveals ‘rabbit from the hat’

Money saving expert Martin Lewis provided ‘translations’ about what the government’s announcements really mean

Athena Stavrou
Thursday 23 November 2023 08:38 GMT
Chancellor cuts employee national insurance for 27 million people

Money-saving expert Martin Lewis has given his verdict on the Autumn Statement as the chancellor made a series of major budget announcements.

On Wednesday, Jeremy Hunt unveiled a bundle of new policies including tax cuts, changes to state pensions and a benefits crackdown.

In a series of social media posts, Mr Lewis explained what the changes mean for Britons as the announcement was being made in the Commons.

Commenting on the chancellor’s “rabbit from the hat” national insurance announcement, Mr Lewis wrote: “He’s cutting employee National Insurance rates currently 12% on income between £12,570 and £50,270 to 10%.

“Someone on average salary will save £450/yr from 6 January 2024 This is a tax cut for workers (not for other earnings) which goes some way to cover the cost of freezing the tax thresholds”

By reducing headline rates of national insurance for employees and the self-employed, it’s estimated that 28 million people will now see their tax lowered.

Mr Lewis also said it was good news for lower-paid workers, as the government confirmed the new minimum wage rise at £11.44 from April. He added that the change would mean better benefits and pensions for workers.”

The TV presenter also welcomed the announcement universal credit was being increased in line with September inflation and the Local Housing Allowance being unfrozen - which will help with soaring rental costs.

Providing live ‘translations’ to his 2.5 million X followers, the presenter debunked Mr Hunt’s claim that the government had delivered their promise to half inflation.

He said: “Prices are still RISING, just not as quickly before, though still at over double the rate we set the Bank of England.”

Mr Lewis also commented on changes to state pensions announced by the government on Wednesday.

Mr Hunt announced that the state pension will rise by 8.5 per cent from April, in line with the triple-lock commitment, worth up to £900 a year.

The Treasury has also announced that savers will have the right to have “one pension pot for life”. The Chancellor told MPs this would require a new employer to pay pension contributions into their existing pension pot if they choose.

The money saving expert said while the measure was good in theory, it would be “tough” to enforce.

He added that the government needs to speed up a pensions dashboard instead, so if people have multiple pensions they can find and see them easily.

The TV presenter’s biggest disappointment was the absence of Lifetime ISA reform - which he has campaigned for.

He said the lack of change would mean people using the scheme to buy a home over £450,000 would be fined by the government.

Jeremy Hunt was heckled when he announced benefits will be stopped in his autumn statement (Parliament TV)

Mr Lewis said that the budget announcement was just the “tip of the iceberg” and warned consumers that what really counts is the detail that will be published afterward.

He added that it will take a few days for all the measures to become clear.

Other measures announced by Mr Hunt this afternoon included permanently allowing firms to offset any investments in a tax break costing £11bn a year.

The chancellor also announced a crackdown on benefits for people with mobility or mental health struggles unless they work from home.

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