Jeremy Hunt has today announced a series of measures to boost Britain’s economy in his second autumn statement.
He claimed the economy is “back on track” in the statement, and that the country has “turned a corner”.
He vowed to “reject big government, high spending and high tax because we know that leads to less growth, not more”.
He confirmed that the state pension will rise in line with wage growth next year as he honoured his party’s commitment to the triple lock.
Hunt permanently extended “full expensing”, which allows companies to claim back up to 25p for every pound invested and which had been due to end in March 2026.
The national living wage will also be increased by 9.8 per cent to £11.44 an hour
The chancellor said in his statement: “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.
“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.”
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves responded by saying that the UK’s growth has “hit a dead end” under the Conservatives.
13.36 pm — Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves is now responding to Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement.
She says the UK’s growth has “hit a dead end” under the Conservatives.
13.31 pm — Jeremy Hunt announces the main rate of National Insurance will be cut by two per cent, with the change to take effect from January.
“If we want people to get up early in the morning, if we want people 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 all of us.
“So today, Mr Speaker, I am going to cut the main 12% rate of employee National Insurance.
“If I cut it by 1 percentage point to 11%, that would be an extra £225 in the pockets of the average worker every year. But instead, I’m going to go further and cut the main rate of Employee National insurance by 2 percentage points from 12% to 10%. This change will help 27 million people.”
13.27 pm — Jeremy Hunt is hailing “the largest business tax cut in modern British history” as he announces full expenses is to be made permanent.
It means when a company buys machinery or plant, they can take the cost out of their pre-tax profits, saving them having to pay tax on the equipment.
Hunt says the OBR believes it will increase annual investment by roughly £3 billion a year and a total of £14 billion over the forecast period.
13.06 pm — From Institute for Fiscal Studies Director Paul Johnson:
OBR not as negative as Bank of England on growth, but unsurprisingly has reduced forecasts since March
— Paul Johnson (@PJTheEconomist) November 22, 2023
13.01 pm — Hunt outlines latest forecasts for the UK’s economic growth provided by the OBR. He says he expects the UK to grown by 0.6 per cent this year, and 0.7 per cent next year.
Then by 1.4 per cent in 2025, 1.9 per cent in 2026, 2 per cent in 2027 and 1.7 per cent in 2028.
12.57 pm — The chancellor says the UK will meet its goal of having debt falling as a percentage of GDP.
Hunt tells the commons the economy had “outperformed expectations” since last year’s autumn statement.
He adds: “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”.
12.50 pm — Chancellor says the triple lock will be committed to in full.
12.49 pm — The chancellor says he and Keir Starmer have something in common: they both wanted to “make a Jeremy prime minister”. He adds that “his [Starmer’s] Jeremy” would have crashed the economy.
12.48 pm — New announcements: Universal Credit and other benefits will be increased by 6.7 per cent from next April, an “average increase of £470 a year for five and a half million households”.
Alcohol duty will be frozen until 1 August.
12.46 pm — The OBR believes inflation will fall to 2.8 per cent by the end of next year, Hunt says.
12.44 pm — The chancellor pledges £7 million over the next three years to projects to help tackle anti-semitism in schools.
12.41 pm — Jeremy Hunt to Rachel Reeves: “My conference speech was before hers so all she had to do was copy and paste”.
12.38 pm — Jeremy Hunt says the government has taken “difficult decisions to put our economy back on track”.
He tells the House of Commons: “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. Others have proposed a more short-term approach”.
12.36 pm — Jeremy Hunt takes to his feet to deliver his autumn statement as he wishes his wife, who is sat in the viewing gallery, a happy birthday.
12.17 pm — SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn asks if the government will back a “permanent ceasefire” in the Israel-Hamas conflict.
It comes after a deal was agreed between the two sides which will see 50 hostages held in Gaza released and a four-day ceasefire
Rishi Sunak replies by saying the temporary break is something the government has “consistently pushed for”.
“We want to see all hostages released as quickly as possible, including British nationals, and I would urge all parties involved to deliver the agreement in full”, he adds.
12.13 pm — The Labour leader says 2.5 million people are too sick to work, “with the majority also suffering from mental health issues”.
Rishi Sunak replies that the government has “injected record sums to expand the number of mental health treatments in our country”.
12.08 pm — Labour leader Keir Starmer asks the prime minister about the “latest version” of his five pledges.
He asks if Rishi Sunak forgot the NHS.
The PM lists his achievements on the NHS, including investing “record” money and creating a long-term workforce plan.
12.04 pm — Prime minister Rishi Sunak welcomes the overnight agreement for a humanitarian pause in Gaza.
He says the pause was something that the UK had “consistently pushed for”
12.02 pm — Prime minister’s questions begins.
11.17 am — Jeremy Hunt has left Downing Street and is on his way to the House of Commons to deliver the autumn statement.
The chancellor is due to set out his Budget following PMQs at around 12.40pm.
10.23 am — Chancellor Jeremy Hunt says his autumn statement will contain “110 different measure to help grow the British economy”:
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) November 22, 2023
10.15 am — Leader of Reform UK Richard Tice claims the Conservatives have decided to cut tax at today’s Autumn Statement after assessing his party’s climbing opinion poll numbers.
He told GB News: “The reality is, a week ago we were being told there was no room for tax cuts and the reality is they saw Reform UK going up in the polls, four double digit polls for the first time.
“P for panic has descended into Downing Street. All of a sudden they have found tens of billions behind the sofa. Where has that come from I wonder? All of a sudden it is all about tax cuts here, business tax cuts there.”
09.51 am — Leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Ed Davey says he fears Jeremy Hunt will offer a “huge deception” on tax at the Autumn Statement today.
He told Times Radio: “I fear we are going to hear a huge deception on tax from the Chancellor today.
“There may be some small relief but set aside the massive tax rises that people are going to be paying in the next few years, it will be nothing. A typical middle-income household has been, this year, paying an extra £2,000 in income tax, the way that they have frozen that tax-free sum that we all get from income tax.
“Normally it goes up by inflation. They are not allowing that to rise by inflation as always happened in the past. That is dragging millions of people into both the normal tax band and the higher rate tax band.
“It is really hitting loads of people and anything he says today I don’t think is going to hit the sides.”
08.45 am — Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Darren Jones appears to welcome the news that a 1 per cent cut to national insurance could be announced.
He said: “A couple of hundred quid off per year will be good, but [people are] still going to be down £3,000 – £3,500 a year.”
However, he noted that “inflation is still double” the Bank of England’s target and the cost of living remains high.
He added: “The fact of the matter is it’s too little, too late… The Tories have failed and they’re not going to be able to turn it around at this stage.”
08.40 am — Jeremy Hunt posted on X (formerly Twitter) yesterday afternoon:
With inflation halved, we can turn to the next phase of our economic plan – boosting our long term economic growth.
Tomorrow, I’ll be setting out an Autumn Statement package that does just that. pic.twitter.com/5aNrLcHU9S
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) November 21, 2023
Halving inflation was the first of Rishi Sunak’s five pledges announced in January this year, politics.co.uk‘s pledge tracker has a full breakdown:
08.35 am — Conservative MP Stephen Hammond is asked on Sky News if a cut to national insurance points to an early general election. He responds:
I don’t know. I think what it’s pointing to is that we’re starting to show that after last year, the chancellor and the prime minister have the economy beginning to grow, we’ve got debt falling.
I would have thought, if I were them, they’d want to show that through next year.
He adds: “What would put people off more… is if we were doing irresponsible things today. This [national insurance cut] is a sensible first move that will actually benefit 28 million people.”
08.32 am — Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves claimed that nothing Jeremy Hunt announces this afternoon “can change the Government’s appalling record” on the economy.
After thirteen years of economic failure, working people are worse off.
Nothing the Chancellor says or does today can change the Government's appalling record.
— Rachel Reeves (@RachelReevesMP) November 22, 2023
08.30 am — Good morning and welcome back to “Politics Live”, politics.co.uk‘s rolling coverage of the day’s key moments in Westminster and beyond. Here you can keep up to date with today’s major parliamentary debates, press conferences and news events in real time.
Here’s what’s happening today:
- Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will deliver his Autumn Statement
- Prime minister’s questions will talk place from 12.00 pm
Stay with us and we’ll bring you all the latest developments as they unfold.