Autumn statement - latest: Jeremy Hunt will ‘slash national insurance for 28 million’ in tax cut budget

A one per cent cut would be worth £380 a year to someone earning more than £50,000

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

Jeremy Hunt is set to cut national insurance for 28 million people as he unveils a crackdown on benefits claimants in today’s autumn statement.

The chancellor is expected to reduce the headline rates of national insurance for employees and the self-employed.

A one per cent cut would be worth £380 a year to someone earning more than £50,000 but could cost the government somewhere in the region of £5bn.

Rishi Sunak is also set to threaten to cut benefit payments to hundreds of thousands of people with mobility and mental-health problems unless they find work they can do 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.

But leading disability charity Sense warned the plans risked punishing disabled people as they would be put under “more pressure to find work” without the necessary support required to do so.


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

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

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.”

Jeremy Hunt faces competing demands from backbench Tory MPs as he prepares to deliver his autumn statement (PA)

Matt Mathers22 November 2023 09:32

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

8 per cent of voters want tax cuts - poll

Only 8 per cent of voters said they wanted to see tax cuts, according to a poll from earlier this year.

The British Social Attitudes and the NatCen Opinion Panel poll, published in September, found a majority (55 per cent)  wanted more spending on health, education and social benefits.

Some 36 per cent said they wanted tax and spending on the above areas to remain the same.

Matt Mathers22 November 2023 09:06

Labour: ‘We need to see more action on the cost of living crisis'

Darren Jones, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, has been out on the broadcast round this morning for Labour, responding to what will be in the autumn statement.

He says Labour backs the decision to increase the national living wage and cuts to NI contributions and business tax. But he called for more action to tackle inflation and sky-high energy bills.

“We need to see much more action on getting down energy bills, more action on tackling inflation and more action on the cost of living crisis”, he said.

Matt Mathers22 November 2023 08:54

‘Key thing’ to bring down inflation, Tory MP says

Bringing down inflation should remain Rishi Sunak’s “key” economic objective, a Tory MP has said.

Stephen Hammond, the MP for Wimbledon and a One Nation Tory, told Sky News that tackling rising prices makes a “key difference” to people’s lives.

“That will make people feel better off”, he said. “And is a key part of what you’re going to hear again today”.

More comments from Hammond below:

Matt Mathers22 November 2023 08:46

Cabinet meeting at 8.30 to sign of Budget

Rishi Sunak’s cabinet will meet at 8.30am this morning to sign off on the Budget.

The prime minister and chancellor were seen putting the final touches to the statement in pictures and videos released by No 10 and the Treasury yesterday.

Sunak, who has sometimes been described as a “tech bro”, opted for a casual hoodie over his shirt. The chancellor, meanwhile, went for a more traditional look, sticking with his suit.

Matt Mathers22 November 2023 08:29

Alcohol duty to be frozen - report

Jeremy Hunt will freeze duty on alcohol in a bid to boost pubs, according to a report.

The Sun reports the chancellor will not put up levies on beer, wine and spirits.

Pubs and bars will are also likely to have their 75 per cent business rates holiday extended, the paper adds.

Matt Mathers22 November 2023 08:12

What else can we expect in the statemet?

It has become increasingly common in recent years for most of the major Budget announcements to be briefed out by the Treasury in advance of the event.

We know that there will be a rise in the national living wage, a crackdown on benefits and reports say there will also be cuts to national insurance contributions and business taxes, in the form of extending “expensing”, which allows firms to offset investment.

But what else is likely to feature in the chancellor’s statement?

David Hughes reports:

What to expect in Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement

Wednesday’s statement could set the scene for a general election in 2024.

Matt Mathers22 November 2023 08:05

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in