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As it happenedended1700754023

Autumn Statement: Energy price cap increase dampens Hunt’s ‘tax cuts’ as he denies pre-election handout – live

Chancellor insists public spending freeze in autumn statement will not result in worse public services

Archie Mitchell,Andy Gregory
Thursday 23 November 2023 15:40 GMT
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Autumn budget 2023: Key announcements from Jeremy Hunt's statement

Energy bills will rise again in a blow to millions, as analysts warned that the tax cuts unveiled in chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement would be “dwarfed” by other tax rises already in motion.

Experts lamented that ministers had “missed the opportunity” to announce extra support for households in desperate need this winter, as Ofgem announced its energy price cap would rise by 5 per cent in January, adding £94 to a typical gas and electricity bill.

Mr Hunt defended tax cuts that will leave public services – already buckling after years of austerity – facing what economists called an “implausible” spending squeeze.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies warned Britain was on course for drastic public-sector cuts even more “painful” than the austerity of the 2010s.

The Resolution Foundation said the national insurance cuts were “dwarfed by tax rises already under way”, set to make households an average of £1,400 poorer. The think-tank also criticised the chancellor’s public spending freeze, asking: “What's the plan here? Abolish the criminal justice system and public transport maybe?”

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What does the autumn statement mean for my money and the Tory party? Ask Sean O’Grady anything

The Independent’s associate editor Sean O’Grady is on hand to explain how planned tax cuts and benefits reforms could affect your wallet and confidence in the Tory party.

If you have a question on the autumn statement, submit it now, or when Sean joins live at 3pm on Wednesday 21 November for the “Ask Me Anything” event.

Register to submit your question in the comments box under this article (below).

If you’re not already a member, click “sign up” in the comments section to leave your question. For a full guide on how to comment click here.

Don’t worry if you can’t see your question – they may be hidden until Sean join the conversation to answer them.

Then join us live on this page at 3pm as Sean tackles as many questions as he can.

Ask Sean O’Grady anything about the Autumn Budget

The Independent’s associate editor Sean O’Grady is on hand to explain how planned tax cuts and benefits reforms could affect your wallet and confidence in the Tory party

Matt Mathers22 November 2023 09:16
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Hunt warned forecasts can ‘go down’ - as well as up

Jeremy Hunt has been warned that economic forecasts can “go down” as well as up after official figures showed the UK had borrowed less than expected.

Government borrowing between April and October totalled £98.3bn, the Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday - about £22bn higher than in the same period last year but nearly £17bn pounds less than the OBR forecast.

The has given but the chancellor some “fiscal headroom” to spend in today’s statement.

But the Institute for Government has warned there is a risk the OBR is over-optimistic at a time when the world economic outlook is very uncertain.

“The OBR has quite often found spare cash for a chancellor to spend – and our instant gratification chancellors tend to be unable to resist spending any margin that emerges instantly,” Jill Rutter, a senior fellow at the think tank writes in a blog post.

“There is a risk: that the OBR is overoptimistic at a time when the world economic outlook is very uncertain. Hunt’s final risk is that lower (though still miles above target) inflation is less baked in than he and the prime minister hope.

“Inflation surprised on the low side in November but it is still very vulnerable to global energy price movements.”

(REUTERS)
Matt Mathers22 November 2023 09:32
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IfG: Press ‘briefing frenzy’ shows UK should revert to one budget per year

The press “briefing frenzy” ahead of today’s autumn statement shows that the UK should revert to having one Budget per year, the Institute for Government (IfG) has said.

Most of the major announcements in today’s statement have already been made public in press reports.

“In a recent episode of their podcast, Ed Balls and George Osborne bemoaned the official preference (shared by IfG) for a single fiscal event a year – something that is the norm in most other countries,” IfG senior fellow Jill Rutter writes in a blog post.

“According to them, officials in search of a quiet life want to deny a chancellor the chance to make the political weather, by halving his opportunities to dominate the broadcast schedules and grab headlines.

“This week’s autumn statement is now being touted as another chance for a reset, in an autumn of resets.

“An opportunity for Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt to declare an economic corner has been turned, to spend the fiscal ‘headroom’ created by the combination of higher than expected inflation with the decision to freeze tax allowances (and quite possibly public service budgets) in cash terms.”

Matt Mathers22 November 2023 09:49
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What tax cuts can we expect, and will they make it harder for Labour?

Jeremy Hunt and Rishi Sunak have been dropping hints about tax cuts in Wednesday’s autumn statement, and it also seems that there will be some benefits reforms to get people back into the labour market, writes Sean O’Grady.

It’s a sharp change in mood compared to even a few months ago, and ministers hope it may signal a political as well as an economic turning point.

But what tax cuts can we expect and will they make a dent Labour’s double-digit lead in the polls? Read Sean’s full piece below:

What tax cuts can we expect, and will they make it harder for Labour?

Next year won’t feel like a boom, tax cuts or not, says Sean O’Grady

Matt Mathers22 November 2023 10:00
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Editorial: Why the chancellor’s ‘back to work’ plans won’t work

There are good reasons why the chancellor needs to get more people – including those with long-term illness and disabilities – into the labour market.

But his final autumn statement before the general election is not about empowering our most vulnerable – it’s all about the politics.

Read the full editorial here:

Why the chancellor’s ‘back to work’ plans won’t work

Editorial: There are good reasons why the chancellor needs to get more people – including those with long-term illness and disabilities – into the labour market. But his final autumn statement before the general election is not about empowering our most vulnerable – it's all about the politics

Matt Mathers22 November 2023 10:24
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Hunt on his way to Commons

Jeremy Hunt has left Downing Street and is on his way to the House of Commons to deliver his autumn statement.

The chancellor is due to set out his Budget following PMQs at around 12.40pm.

He is expected to cut taxes, increase the national minimum wage and reform pensions.

In a social media video published last night ahead of the statement, 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.”

(Getty Images)
Matt Mathers22 November 2023 10:35
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Why now is the time for Jeremy Hunt to rescue the high street

The cost of living crisis is making life for shops tougher than at any point since the pandemic, writes James Moore.

But cutting business rates in the autumn statement will save more businesses going to the wall while we decide what we want from the high street.

Read James’s full report here:

Why now is the time for Jeremy Hunt to rescue the high street

The cost of living crisis is making life for shops tougher than at any point since the pandemic, writes James Moore. But cutting business rates in the autumn statement will save more businesses going to the wall while we decide what we want from the high street

Matt Mathers22 November 2023 10:40
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ICYMI: Hunt’s ultimatum to the disabled - WFH or lose your benefits

Jeremy Hunt has been accused of trying to “punish” disabled people while offering tax cuts the Conservatives hope will turn around their electoral fortunes.

The chancellor is preparing to use the autumn statement to ease the tax burden on businesses and individuals, as he seeks to boost economic growth and win over disillusioned voters.

Hunt’s ultimatum to the disabled: WFH or lose your benefits

Hundreds of thousands with serious mobility and mental health issues told to ‘make work pay’ from home, as chancellor admits more work to be done on the economy but claims tax cut plans show Tories ‘reject big government’

Matt Mathers22 November 2023 10:41
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What happens now?

We’ve had the social media posts, the press briefings and the customary shot of the chancellor leaving No 11 Downing Street.

So what happens next? The cabinet met this morning to sign off the statement and the rest of us now wait to see what is in it that hasn’t already been announced.

Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer will face off at PMQs as usual at 12pm, in a session that is likely to be dominated by the economy.

Jeremy Hunt will then deliver his statement from the dispatch box between 12.30 and 12.40pm.

(PA)

Matt Mathers22 November 2023 10:57
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Measures will make ‘big difference’ to entrepreneurs, says Hunt

Jeremy Hunt said he hoped the autumn statement’s measures would make a “really big difference” to entrepreneurs, Adam Forrest reports.

In a social media video, the chancellor said: “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.”

Jeremy Hunt hopes autumn statement will make ‘really big difference’

Matt Mathers22 November 2023 11:10

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