Autumn statement – latest: Jeremy Hunt to unveil benefits crackdown in budget

Suffering of innocent civilians in Gaza ‘must end’ says Sunak as he urges pause for humanitarian aid

Jeremy Hunt is set to unveil a crackdown on benefits claimants in tomorrow’s autumn statement that campaigners say risks punishing disabled people.

Laura Trott, chief secretary to the Treasury, told broadcasters earlier that “if you can work as a principle, you should work, and that is what the government believes.”

“That’s been the thrust of all of our policies,” she added.

She brushed off suggestions that the government could be viewed as uncaring following reports that hundreds of thousands of people who claim benefits because of mobility and mental health issues will be told to look for jobs where they can work from home.

Sarah White, head of policy at Sense, said the plan risked punishing disabled people.

“We’re seriously concerned that if the government does push on with plans to force more people into work without putting any additional support in place, then disabled people are just going to be put under more pressure to find work, without having the support they need to do so,” she said.


Sunak to cut benefits for long-term sick unless they seek to work from home

The prime minister will tell them to find jobs or face a benefits cut of £4,680 a year if they do not in a bid to get more people back to work, according to reports.

Matt Mathers21 November 2023 10:30


Ministerial statements for Tuesday

Here are the written ministerial statements due to be made in the Commons on Tuesday:

  • Secretary of State for Business and Trade: Republic of Korea Trade Negotiations Update: Launch of Negotiations
  • Chancellor of the Exchequer: Investment update
  • Chancellor of the Exchequer: Treasury Update
  • Secretary of State for Health and Social Care: NHS England Update
  • Secretary of State for Justice: Correction to Question 203779 in the 2022-23 session
  • Secretary of State for Transport: Motoring Executive Agency Business Plans for 2023-24

Matt Mathers21 November 2023 10:28


Hunt will cut NI contribtions – report

Jeremy Hunt will “probably” make a small cut to national insurance in tomorrow’s statement.

The chancellor has also delayed slashing inheritance tax and stamp duty until next year, according to The Sun.

He will not raise income tax thresholds despite the record tax take, the paper adds.

(PA Wire)

Matt Mathers21 November 2023 09:20


Government borrowing rises ahead of statement

Government borrowing was higher than expected last month at £14.9bn but official figures showed a smaller-than-expected deficit across the first half of the year.

The £14.9bn was £4.4 billion more than a year earlier and the second-highest October borrowing since monthly records began in 1993.

It was more than most economists had been pencilling in and higher than the £13.7 billion expected by the UK’s fiscal watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), marking the first time it has overshot the official forecasts this financial year.

The ONS also revised up borrowing figures for the first six months of the financial year to £83.4 billion from £81.7 billion previously estimated, due largely to weaker income and corporate tax receipts.

But despite the higher-than-forecast figures, financial year-to-date borrowing is still below official forecasts made last March, standing at £98.3 bn, £21.9 bn more than a year earlier, though less than the £115.2 billion forecast by the OBR.

(PA Wire)

Matt Mathers21 November 2023 09:12


EU didn’t believe Boris Johnson’s ‘madman’ no-deal Brexit bluff

European Union negotiators did not believe Boris Johnson’s bluff that he was prepared to pull the UK out of the bloc with a no-deal Brexit, Michel Barnier has revealed.

Matt Mathers21 November 2023 08:55


Minister: We’re going to cut taxes

A government minister said taxes would be cut in Wednesday’s autumn statement but declined to be drawn on specific changes.

Laura Trott, chief secretary to the Treasury, said the government could start to think about reducing taxes because the economy had turned a corner.

“Real wages are, for three months, now ahead of inflation – again, that’s really important to kind of making a difference to how people feel,” she told Times Radio.

“So we can now talk about tax cuts and focus on growth, and that is what we’re going to be doing.”


Matt Mathers21 November 2023 07:59


Spark EV battery production to prevent decline of UK car industry, MPs warn

Electric vehicle (EV) battery production must be incentivised to prevent the decline of the UK car industry, MPs warned.

A report by the cross-party Business and Trade Committee stated that hundreds of thousands of jobs are at risk if the issue is not addressed.

Matt Mathers21 November 2023 07:46


Government accused of ‘economic blackmail’

The Government has been accused of “economic blackmail” after no Levelling Up funding was allocated to Northern Ireland.

Some 55 projects across the UK will get a share of nearly £1 billion from the fund aimed at regenerating high streets and improving transport links.

But no funding was allocated to Northern Ireland.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove’s department said “given the current absence of a working executive and assembly, the Government is not proceeding with this round of the Levelling Up Fund at this time”.

Alexander Butler21 November 2023 07:00


More than £300m will ‘unlock’ mansion house reform benefits, Jeremy Hunt says

The Government will spend more than £300 million to “unlock” £50 billion in capital from British pension funds, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has said.

Dubbed the Mansion House Reforms and announced by the Chancellor earlier this year, leading pensions firms agreed to put 5% of their investments into early-stage businesses in the fintech, life sciences, biotech and clean technology sectors by 2030.

The move was pitched as a way to help increase the retirement savings of a typical earner who starts saving at 18, by 12% over their career, or more than £1,000 more a year once they stop working.

Alexander Butler21 November 2023 06:00


Watch as Sunak discusses Autumn Statement during London school visit

Watch as Rishi Sunak gives a speech in London on Monday 20 November.

The prime minister painted a more positive picture of the economy ahead of the autumn statement on Wednesday, which Jeremy Hunt has signalled could be used to cut taxes for businesses.

Mr Sunak hailed having last week hit his pledge of halving inflation as he gave an update on the state of the nation’s finances.

Oliver Browning21 November 2023 04:00


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