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Watch live: Jeremy Hunt delivers Autumn Statement

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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has unveiled a £54billion fiscal package of tax rises and spending cuts in his Autumn Statement to help balance the nation’s finances and put the UK on a “balanced path to stability”. But what do you think about the Budget? Vote in our poll.

The Government aims to restore stability and credibility in the economy as inflation soars to a 41-year high of 11.1 percent. The package includes £30billion in spending cuts and £24billion in tax rises over the next five years.

The measures aim to reduce Government debt and repair the reputational damage caused by former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget on September 23, which caused the pound to plummet against the dollar.

Mr Hunt acknowledged that many Britons will be worried about the future, and said his priorities for the Autumn Statement are “stability, growth and public services”. He explained, “high inflation is the enemy” as it leads to higher prices and that inflation hurts the poorest the most. He added: “We also protect the vulnerable, because to be British is to be compassionate, and this is a compassionate Conservative Government.”

He attributed global factors as the “primary cause” of current inflation stating that most countries in the world are dealing with high rates as a result of the “fallout from a once-in-a-century pandemic”.

The Chancellor announced that The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has judged that the UK is now in recession. He said: “[The OBR] confirm that our actions today help inflation to fall sharply from the middle of next year. They also judge that the UK, like other countries, is now in recession.”

Measures unveiled include a freeze to income tax personal allowance thresholds with national insurance and inheritance tax thresholds for an additional two years to 2028. This means millions will be required to pay more in taxes. The threshold for paying the top rate of income tax will be reduced from £150,000 to £125,140.

Mr Hunt announced that the state pension will increase by 10 percent in line with September’s inflation figure, upholding the triple lock.

The National Living Wage will also increase from £9.50 an hour for those over 23 to £10.42 from April to support Britons with the cost of living crisis.

Energy bill support will remain but be less generous, with the price cap rising from £2,500 to £3,000. The windfall tax on energy companies has been increased from 25 percent to 35 percent. A 45 percent Energy Profits Levy rate will also be imposed on electricity generators to raise £14billion next year.

He also announced that electric vehicles will no longer be exempt from paying Vehicle Excise Duty from April 2025 to help make the motoring tax system “fairer”.


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Speaking of public services, Mr Hunt said the Government will protect them “as much as we can” because “we know that a strong economy depends on strong public services”.

He said he will invest an extra £2.3billion per year in schools and education. Speaking of the investment he said that “being pro-education is being pro-growth.”

The NHS budget will increase by an extra £3.3billion for each of the next two years. The CEO of the NHS, Amanda Pritchard, said: “This should provide sufficient funding for the NHS to fulfil its key priorities.”

A further £1billion in funding and £1.7billion will be given the year after to adult social care. This means funding increases to £2.8billion and £4.7billion respectively.

Mr Hunt also confirmed that the Government will proceed with the new nuclear plant Sizewell C, with £700million investment by the taxpayer to bolster energy security and diversity. From 2056 a further £6billion will be funded in energy efficiency. He said: “Over the long term, there is only one way to stop ourselves being at the mercy of international gas prices: energy independence combined with energy efficiency.”

The Northern Powerhouse rail, the HS2 and the East West Rail projects were also confirmed to go ahead as planned.

However, the measures have divided opinion among Tory MPs, with some claiming the recession could be longer and deeper and cuts push the UK to austerity.

Former cabinet minister Esther McVey has criticised the tax hikes as the “last thing” a Conservative Government should be doing, while former work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb feared that spending cuts could lead to “real risks to the quality of public services”.

Ahead of the announcement, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said the UK needed “fairer choices for working people and a proper plan for growth”.

She explained: “Britain has so much potential but we are falling behind on the global stage, while mortgages, food and energy costs all go up and up.”

So what do YOU think about the Autumn Statement? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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