Kwarteng admits new energy strategy could take half a decade to reduce bills

Kwasi Kwarteng says autumn statement measures ‘reminded me of Gordon Brown’

Reacting to the autumn statement delivered by the chancellor yesterday, Kwasi Kwarteng suggested that Jeremy Hunt’s “tinkering” with “micro measures” reminded him of Gordon Brown. 

In an article for the Telegraph, Kwarteng broadly welcomed the autumn statement, calling it “a tentative step in the right direction”.

However, he added that “the Prime Minister’s critics may say it is too little too late” and that  there were “dozens of measures” that reminded him of former Labour prime minister and chancellor Gordon Brown. 

Kwarteng, who is Jeremy Hunt’s direct predecessor as chancellor, served briefly during Liz Truss’ time in No 10 before being sacked in the wake of his “mini budget”. 

Jeremy Hunt, appointed by Truss to replace Kwarteng and retained by Rishi Sunak in the role, delivered his autumn statement yesterday which he said contained “110 growth measures”.

One key proposal was a bigger than expected cut in national insurance with the rate now set to reduce from 12 per cent to 10 per cent from January.

Hunt also increased the state pension by 8.5 per cent from April and said universal credit will rise by 6.7 per cent. 

Announcing the national insurance measure, Hunt said: “If we want people to get up early in the morning, if we want them to work nights, if we want an economy where people go the extra mile and work hard, then we need to recognise that their hard work benefits us all. 

“So today, I’m going to cut the main 12% rate of employee national insurance”.

He added that the cut from 12 per cent to 10 per cent “will help 27 million people. It means someone on the average salary of £35,000 will save over £450”.

Kwarteng said the move on national insurance was “a good idea” and “sound”.

Autumn statement: Jeremy Hunt cuts national insurance from 12 per cent to 10 per cent

Responding more broadly to the measures in the statement, the former chancellor said: “According to the Prime Minister’s own narrative, he can now show that he is, by instinct, a tax cutter. This will be much appreciated by core Conservative voters who were, perhaps, beginning to doubt this”.

“Of course, I would have liked to have seen more  tax reductions, but I fully understand why Mr Sunak and Mr Hunt are taking a cautious approach, given my own experiences last year.”

He added: “There were dozens of measures in this autumn statement. In fact, the plethora of measures reminded me of Gordon Brown, who tinkered endlessly with micro measures in his budgets”. 

Hunt’s tricky autumn statement puts the Conservative Party on an election footing