Autumn Budget – live: More than half of Britons blame Tories for cost of living crisis

More than half of Britons blame the Conservative government over global factors for the cost of living crisis, new polling reveals.

A nationally representative poll of more than 2,000 people from Find Out Now for Channel 4 News found that 51 per cent of people believe the government was largely culpable for the soaring cost of household bills, while 37 per cent hold international factors, such as the Covid pandemic and war in Ukraine, responsible.

In the wake of chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s explosive autumn Budget, 29 per cent of voters said they now trust Labour to run the economy. Meanwhile, just 19 per cent put their faith in the Conservative party on fiscal matters.

It comes after Rishi Sunak and his chancellor were accused of shielding the super-rich from paying their fair share of tax by refusing to abolish the non-dom loophole.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused the government of having “gone after working people” with tax hikes while doing “nothing about non-dom status”, telling broadcasters during a vist to Swindon: “The super-rich are not paying their taxes in this country.”

Key Points

  • More than half of Britons blame Tories for cost of living crisis

  • Prime minister and chancellor accused of shielding ‘super-rich’ by keeping non-dom tax loophole

  • Next two years will be ‘challenging’, chancellor says

  • Higher tax era for UK as ‘middle England’ in for a shock, IFS says

  • Hunt says autumn statement is a ‘very Conservative package'

  • Martin Lewis met with Jeremy Hunt ahead of autumn Budget

Saturday 19 November 2022 08:20 , Emily Atkinson

Good morning. We are pausing our live updates on Jeremy Hunt’s autumn Budget for now.

Follow along here for all the latest on the war in Ukraine.

John Rentoul: If the autumn statement got a bad press does that mean it was good?

Saturday 19 November 2022 08:00 , Emily Atkinson

John Rentoul asks: Is the quality of a Budget in inverse proportion to its initial reception by the media?

Professor Philip Cowley, a political scientist at Queen Mary University, said today: “The usual rule with Budgets is that those immediately lauded by the media turn out to be disasters. On that basis, and having seen today’s headlines, yesterday was pure genius.”

If the autumn statement got a bad press does that mean it was good? | John Rentoul

More than half of Britons blame Tories for cost of living crisis

Saturday 19 November 2022 07:29 , Emily Atkinson

More than half of Britons blame the Conservative government over global factors for the cost of living crisis, new polling reveals.

A nationally representative poll of more than 2,000 people from Find Out Now found that 51 per cent of people believe the government was largely culpable for the soaring cost of household bills, while 37 per cent hold international factors, such as the Covid pandemic and war in Ukraine, responsible.

In the wake of chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s explosive autumn Budget, 29 per cent of voters said they now trust Labour to run the economy. Meanwhile, just 19 per cent put their faith in the Conservative party on fiscal matters.

The poll for Channel 4 News also revealed that just 17 per cent of people think the government remains steadfast to its “levelling up” agenda.

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Jeremy Hunt told to ‘come clean’ on economic cost of non-dom tax status

Saturday 19 November 2022 07:00 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Ministers have been told to “come clean” on the economic argument for the decision not to scrap non-dom status in the UK, after the chancellor suggested he did not know how much money axeing the controversial tax status would raise.

Jeremy Hunt insisted the economy would not be helped by abolishing the controversial tax status, saying on Friday that he would rather the super-rich “stayed ... and spent their money here”. And he said he had been told by Treasury officials that they were “very unsure” about how much money the move would actually make.

Labour has now called on ministers to publish figures on how many non-doms there are in the UK, and the amount the Treasury currently loses because of the loophole.

Read the full story by Kate Devlin and Jon Stone here:

Hunt told to ‘come clean’ on economic cost of non-dom tax status

Hunt warned spending cuts may prove ‘undeliverable’

Saturday 19 November 2022 06:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Jeremy Hunt has been warned his planned spending cuts may prove “undeliverable” as he faced criticism from some senior Tories for raising taxes as he seeks to rebuild the UK’s battered public finances.

Former business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg accused the Chancellor of taking the “easy option” in Thursday’s autumn statement rather than bearing down harder on public spending.

He said the country needed lower taxes to drive up growth after Mr Hunt acknowledged that the UK was already in recession.

Read the full story here:

Hunt warned spending cuts may prove ‘undeliverable’

ICYMI: What are stealth taxes?

Saturday 19 November 2022 06:00 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has delivered his Autumn Statement to Parliament laying out his plans to restore order to Britain’s public finances.

Mr Hunt succeeded Kwasi Kwarteng on 14 October, becoming Britain’s fourth Tory Treasury boss since the beginning of July, in the wake of the debacle that was his predecessor’s ill-conceived “mini-Budget” of 23 September.

Mr Kwarteng’s radical but uncosted tax-slashing agenda, reliant on heavy government borrowing, promised to deliver “growth, growth, growth” but instead spooked the international markets, tanked the pound, sparked chaos in the mortgage sector, prompted a dramatic intervention from the Bank of England to prop up pensions and brought a swift end to the premiership of Liz Truss, who has barely been seen in public since her humiliating exit from Downing Street.

Read more about it here:

What are stealth taxes?

ICYMI: Chancellor concedes Brexit made EU barriers and says migration ‘very important’

Saturday 19 November 2022 05:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal has caused damaging trade barriers with the European Union, the Chancellor has conceded, as he said immigration will be “very important” for the economy.

Jeremy Hunt insisted the UK would find a way to improve trading ties with the EU without rejoining the single market.

His comments came after the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said Brexit caused a “significant adverse impact” to trade volumes and business relationships between UK and EU firms.

Read full story here:

Chancellor concedes Brexit made EU barriers and says migration ‘very important’

ICYMI: Autumn Budget 2022: All the key points from Jeremy Hunt’s statement

Saturday 19 November 2022 05:00 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Jeremy Hunt has delivered his autumn statement, confirming tax rises for millions and deep public spending cuts as he seeks to repair the public finances following a series of shocks to the economy.

The chancellor said his plan would aim to “rebuild our economy” in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic, Liz Truss’s disastrous September mini-Budget and Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, which is fuelling rampant inflation.

Read the full story here:

Autumn Budget 2022: All the key points from Jeremy Hunt’s statement

Jeremy Hunt's triple lock might end up making retired people pay taxes on state pension by 2030

Saturday 19 November 2022 04:30 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Retired people in the UK, claiming a full new state pension, are at the risk of paying income tax for the first time as triple lock drives up payments, it was reported.

According to an analysis of figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) by Canada Life, the pension will rise to £12,544 a year in 2028 — just £26 below the threshold for paying the basic rate of income tax.

This means that if inflation goes up and above the OBR estimate, hundreds of thousands of retirees will have to pay taxes for the first time.

Iran’s banned nuclear programme at ‘more advanced’ stage than ever before, Cleverly to warn

Saturday 19 November 2022 03:59 , Andy Gregory

James Cleverly will accuse Iran of spreading “bloodshed and destruction” around the world as the foreign secretary reaffirms Britain’s determination to prevent the regime in Tehran acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Addressing an international security conference in Bahrain on Saturday ahead of his trip to Qatar for the England’s opening World Cup football match, Mr Cleverly will warn that Iranian-supplied weapons are threatening security in the Middle East and beyond.

He will point to the Iranian-made attacks drone being used by Russia to target Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure as an example of its malign influence, and will warn that Tehran’s banned nuclear programme is at a “more advanced” stage of development than ever before.

Politics Explained | Can the government win the next election during a recession?

Saturday 19 November 2022 02:58 , Andy Gregory

In The Independent’s latest Politics Explained piece, our associate editor Sean O’Grady tackles the question of whether a government can win a general election during a recession? He writes:

“The general answer to that is no, for obvious reasons. Indeed, there is only one post-war example of a government holding a general election right in the midst of a slump, which is when Edward Heath asked voters for a mandate to deal with industrial unrest and inflation in 1974. He won a narrow majority of the popular vote, but lost too many seats and was swiftly ousted.

“But the corollary is that if an economy is emerging from a recession, whether through good luck or wise stewardship, the government of the time has a much better chance of winning another term.

“With the last possible date for a general election falling in the early weeks of 2025, much depends on how the economy stands during the summer to autumn of 2024.”

Read his analysis in full:

Can the government win the next election during a recession?

Sunak vows to build 10,000 more prison places

Saturday 19 November 2022 01:53 , Andy Gregory

Rishi Sunak has said that the government will build 10,000 more prison places as he promises to crack down on crime.

“Probably a logical consequence, catching more criminals is going to be part of that, which is why we’re building 10,000 more prison places over the next few years,” he said. “We’re doing that to make sure that we have prison capacity for that.”

“I looked at this as chancellor – if you put more police officers on the street and you tackle more crime, you’re going to end up with more people in jail.”

Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has the full report:

Sunak says he wants more people in jail to make streets safer for women

Sunak ‘very supportive’ of anti-protest bill

Saturday 19 November 2022 00:50 , Andy Gregory

Rishi Sunak has said he is spending “a bit of time” on making sure the police have the powers they need to do their job.

The prime minister said was “very supportive” of the controversial Public Order Bill aimed at tackling “some of the extremist protesting we've been seeing”.

The bill, currently going through parliament, has sparked a furious backlash, with more than 300,000 people signing a petition labelling it an “attempt to overthrow democracy”.

Sunak discusses fears for daughter’s safety as he vows crackdown on crime

Friday 18 November 2022 23:47 , Andy Gregory

Rishi Sunak has said he wants to see more people jailed as part of a crackdown on crime, saying that combating criminality is “personally quite important to me”.

His eldest daughter wanted to walk to her primary school by herself when she turned 11, he said, adding that this was the reason his family moved out of their Downing Street flat and closer to her school in west London in the spring before he resigned as chancellor.

“That brings it home. It brings it home to you as a parent and again over the summer the awful things that we read about with the young girl Olivia [Pratt-Korbel], which we’ll all remember.

“I want to make sure that my kids and everyone else can walk around safely. That’s what any parent wants for their children. It’s what anyone wants for their – particularly their wife or their sister as well – because that hasn’t been something that in the past – well in the past I’ve taken it for granted, and many of us as men have.

“The events of the last year showed us that so many women and girls actually for a while have not felt as safe as they should. So tackling that and making it safer for people is something that’s just personally quite important to me.”

Mr Sunak said he viewed reducing crime as “part of levelling up”, as it most impacts people in parts of the country who have felt overlooked or who are from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Young gay men are ‘most vulnerable’ to harassment in parliament, says Tory MP

Friday 18 November 2022 23:08 , Andy Gregory

Young gay men in parliament are “the most vulnerable” to harassment, Tory MP Caroline Nokes has suggested, describing a remaining “taboo” around homosexuality, with some men “absolutely terrified of coming forward”.

The MP called for a “tighter system of discipline, codes of conduct”, telling GB News: “I’m convinced that sexual harassment is not about sex, it’s about the exploitation of power from one individual over another.

“And we absolutely have to redress that imbalance and make sure that young people working in Parliament, women working in parliament, young gay men – I sometimes think that they are the most vulnerable – that we give them a mechanism where they know that they’re going to be protected.”

Asked why young gay men are particularly vulnerable, she said: “Because people don’t talk about it. And I think that there is still a taboo around homosexuality.

“And there have been some cases where I can think of individuals who’ve harassed both male and female members of staff, and the female member of staff has had all the sympathy, all of the column inches in the press and there’ll be this ‘and also’ when it comes to the young gay man.

“People are still afraid of coming out in 2022,” she said. “Now, you know, that that shouldn’t be right, we should all be perfectly free to be who we are. So that worries me to a huge extent, that there are still young men who are absolutely terrified of coming forward.”

Starmer says he accepts there is a £55bn gap in public finances

Friday 18 November 2022 22:38 , Andy Gregory

Sir Keir Starmer has said he accepts the Office for Budget Responsibility’s assessment that there is a £55bn gap in the public finances, but said that Labour would “make different choices” than the Conservatives.

In an interview with the BBC, the Labour leader said: “We will have to face that challenge, and therefore we don’t quarrel with the number that the OBR put out as a target or trying to get the debt down.”

He added: “What we’ve got is a carefully costed plan for growth – that is what’s been missing now for 12 years.”

Jeremy Hunt told to ‘come clean’ on economic cost of non-dom tax status

Friday 18 November 2022 22:10 , Andy Gregory

The government has been told to “come clean” on the economic argument for the decision not to scrap non-dom status in the UK, after Jeremy Hunt suggested he did not know how much money axeing the controversial tax status would raise.

Labour has now called on ministers to publish figures on how many non-doms there are in the UK, and the amount the Treasury currently loses because of the loophole.

Kate Devlin and Jon Stone have the full story here:

Hunt told to ‘come clean’ on economic cost of non-dom tax status

Hunt’s higher taxes could be here to stay for ‘several decades’, IFS warns

Friday 18 November 2022 21:01 , Andy Gregory

In case you missed it earlier, economists have warned that a “series of economic own goals” has worsened Britain’s “long, hard, unpleasant journey”, as they predicted that chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s record-high taxes are “here to stay” for the “next several decades”.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said on Friday the biggest drop in living standards will “hit everyone” but that “Middle England is set for a shock” as taxes are hiked as wages fall.

“The truth is we just got a lot poorer,” the economic think tank’s director Paul Johnson said.

Sam Blewett reports:

Hunt’s higher taxes could be here to stay for ‘several decades’, IFS warns

Starmer talking to Blair and Brown ‘for some time now'

Friday 18 November 2022 20:33 , Andy Gregory

Sir Keir has said that he has been speaking to former Labour prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, as his team prepares for government in the face of its vast – but shrinking – poll leads over the Conservatives.

“I’ve been talking to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for some time now,” he told Times Radio.

“I’m conscious that we’ve been out of power for 12 years. That means I don’t have people around the shadow cabinet table who’ve got huge experience in government. So, I’m determined that we need to be ready to hit the ground running.”

Next Labour leader should ‘ideally’ be a woman, says Starmer

Friday 18 November 2022 20:04 , Andy Gregory

The next leader of Labour should “ideally” be a woman, Sir Keir Starmer has said, in a wide-ranging interview with Times Radio.

“We do need a female leader of the Labour Party,” Sir Keir told the broadcaster, with the interview also carried in the Times newspaper. “I’ve got really powerful women around me, if you look at Rachel Reeves, Yvette Cooper, Angela Rayner, Lisa Nandy, Bridget Phillipson. But does the party need a woman leader? Yes, it does.”

Asked if his eventual successor should be a woman, he said: “Yes, ideally. We’ll have to see what the circumstances are, but I don’t think we should shy away from that challenge at all.”

IMF director described Budget as ‘balanced and fair’, says Hunt

Friday 18 November 2022 19:29 , Andy Gregory

Jeremy Hunt, who had a call with IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva today, said that she described the UK’s economic plans as “balanced and fair”.

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Ms Georgieva had earlier praised the Budget as striking “the right balance between fiscal responsibility and protecting growth and vulnerable households”.

Voices | Part of the ‘squeezed middle’? There are ways you might be able to save money

Friday 18 November 2022 18:45 , Andy Gregory

Writing for Independent Voices, the managing director of consumer group Fairer Finance, James Daley, suggests that “for those who are not in dire straits – there’s lots that can be done to make what [funds] you have go further, and to try and earn a little more”.

He writes: “Making the right decisions with your mortgage, your energy bills, your insurance, your broadband and mobile phone bills can make an enormous difference to your monthly outgoings.”

“... Looking at every pound of other spending you do each month is also a good exercise. You may find there are subscriptions you forgot about – or realise just how much you can save each month by making your own lunches or cycling to work.

And if you’ve been in your job a while, it’s not a bad time to see whether you can get a pay rise by moving elsewhere. One of the oddities of our current economic situation is that although we are in recession, unemployment is at historic lows due to a shortage of labour.”

Opinion: Part of the ‘squeezed middle’? There are ways to save money

Sunak ‘to scale back morning ministerial media appearances’

Friday 18 November 2022 18:23 , Dominic McGrath

Rishi Sunak appears set to reduce the number of appearances government ministers make on the airwaves, with reported plans to end the current practice of frontbenchers being quizzed on TV and radio every morning.

The move was first reported by the Daily Mirror, which said the government will provide a minister to be interviewed around three mornings every week, with a focus instead on appearing when there is an “announcement”.

The daily broadcast round typically sees a minister appear on BBC Breakfast, Good Morning Britain, BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and other outlets to answer questions and defend the government each weekday morning.

It is understood that Downing Street will take a “flexible” approach to appearances, with sources rejecting the suggesting the move amounts to an axing of the broadcast round.

Backbencher’s bill clears Commons in single sitting for first time since 1998

Friday 18 November 2022 18:02 , Andy Gregory

A proposed law change has cleared the House of Commons in a single sitting for the first time in more than 20 years – instead taking a mere “three minutes and 11 seconds”, according to the deputy speaker.

Tory former minister Sir Christopher Chope’s Mobile Homes (Pitch Fees) Bill was given a series of short unopposed readings in a single sitting of the Commons.

The private member’s bill is aimed at reforming how charges for pitching mobile homes are calculated. It would change how pitch fee reviews rise in line with inflation to lower costs for mobile homeowners, moving from the Retail Prices Index to the Consumer Prices Index.

All bills introduced into parliament are usually scrutinised over several stages in the Commons during the course of a year. But Sir Christopher’s Bill passed through all its stages unopposed in one sitting, with Commons deputy speaker Dame Eleanor Laing remarking on the extreme shortness of its passage.

Agreeing with an observation by Sir Christopher that it marked the first time since 1998 that a private member’s bill progressed through all of its stages in one sitting, Dame Eleanor added, to laughter from MPs: “Many a worthy bill has appeared to have support of all members [MPs] but one.

“It is noticeable that this particular bill is brought by that very member and its worthiness has therefore outweighed its procedural position. Interesting and notable.”

John Rentoul | If the autumn statement got a bad press does that mean it was good?

Friday 18 November 2022 17:40 , Andy Gregory

Focusing on the reaction to yesterday’s autumn statement by chancellor Jeremy Hunt, our chief political commentator John Rentoul asks whether the quality of a Budget may be in inverse proportion to its initial reception by the media.

He points to an observation by political scientist Professor Philip Cowley, who suggested today – in what he labelled “sort of a joke, and sort of not” – that “the usual rule with Budgets is that those immediately lauded by the media turn out to be disasters”, adding: “On that basis, and having seen today’s headlines, yesterday was pure genius.”

For his part, John writes: “What is striking about the coverage of Hunt’s statement is the absence of any credible alternative policy that the government should be following. No one likes higher taxes, but the opposite policy has just been tried in a real-world experiment that blew up the chemistry lab.

“ ... When historians look back at the 2022 autumn statement, they are likely to see it as a necessary first step in coming to terms with some rather bigger problems than a nation facing a temporary, if sharp, dip in living standards. But I doubt if it will be hailed as a work of genius.”

If the autumn statement got a bad press does that mean it was good? | John Rentoul

Tory MPs call for renters to be allowed to keep pets

Friday 18 November 2022 17:19 , Andy Gregory

Conservative MPs have urged the government to allow renters to keep pets in their homes, during a debate around a private member’s bill aimed at creating greater regulation of supported housing aimed at vulnerable people.

Vet and Tory MP Dr Neil Hudson stressed that keeping animals was important to help people with their mental health, telling the Commons: “I know as a dog owner myself, I know the impacts that animals have on people’s lives, the importance of people to have animals in accommodation.

“I know I have worked with ministers in terms of various types of legislation that we want the ability for people in the rental sector to be able to have pets in their accommodation.

“If you are a responsible pet owner you should be allowed to have a pet there to give you that companionship to help your mental health, to help the health of that animal, and that is something that I think we can move forward with as well.”

The government has considered giving tenants more rights to keep pets in recent years, with ministers setting out plans which would allow tenants to challenge their landlords if they refuse a request to keep a pet in a June white paper titled “A Fairer Private Rented Sector”.

Martin Lewis reveals three hours to avoid using washing machine

Friday 18 November 2022 17:05 , Andy Gregory

Martin Lewis has advised people to not using their washing machines during certain times to try and avoid the chance of blackouts, after the National Grid warned there could be power outages on “really, really cold” winter days.

This could happen if energy supplies from Europe prove insufficient due to the disruption of the war in Ukraine, the energy grid’s boss said last moth.

The MoneySavingExpert founder appeared on ITV’s This Morning where he suggested how this could be best avoided. My colleague Zoe Tidman reports:

Martin Lewis reveals three hours to avoid using washing machine

Voices | If the Tories ever governed again after 2024, it would be too soon

Friday 18 November 2022 16:50 , Andy Gregory

In his latest piece, our political sketch writer Tom Peck suggests that, if Rishi Sunak, Jeremy Hunt and their Conservative forebears have paid attention to the post-Budget analysis of Institute for Fiscal Studies director Paul Johnson, “then they might as well give up and go home”.

In his analysis, Mr Johnson said: “I would be most surprised if the tax burden gets back down to its long-term pre-Covid average at any time in the next several decades. Higher taxes and a bigger state look to me to be here to stay unless something quite radical changes.”

Tom notes that “that these are the words not of an activist, but a studiously impartial assessor of economic reality”, adding: “It is a polite, accurate and devastating assessment of a decade of staggeringly bad government, of failure on a colossal scale.”

You can read his analysis in full here:

If the Tories ever governed again after 2024, it would be too soon | Tom Peck

Government pledges to consider new protections for terminally ill workers

Friday 18 November 2022 16:31 , Andy Gregory

Business minister George Freeman has promised to consider further employment protections for those with terminal illnesses, after such a move was proposed in a Private Member’s Bill brought to the Commons by Labour’s Alex Cunningham.

Mr Cunningham said his Terminal Illness (Support and Rights) Bill would provide a “protected period” where those with a terminal illness could not be dismissed as a result of their condition, and included measures to help those “thought to be in the last year of life” to get help with their utility bills.

The measures would “provide those living with terminal illnesses with much-needed additional financial support, without costing the Exchequer a penny”, Mr Cunningham argued.

The government did not commit to supporting the bill, but the business minister promised to work with Mr Cunningham, and “convene a group of the key ministers” from his department as well as from the work and pensions and health departments to tackle the employment issues raised.

Starmer says Tories have made ‘wrong choices’ by imposing ‘stealth taxes' on public

Friday 18 November 2022 16:05 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Business rates slashed by millions for busy high-street shops and hotels

Friday 18 November 2022 15:48 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Big high-street shops and hotels are set to save millions from tumbling taxes as the Treasury unveiled a package of support on business rates in Thursday’s autumn statement.

Iconic British department stores like Harrods and Selfridges and hotels like the Savoy and the Ritz will see their business rates bills slashed by up to half as a result of the new measures.

As part of the autumn statement, the Treasury announced a shake-up to business rates which will provide tax boosts for many high street businesses, with large warehouses for online rivals taking on more of the cost.

This could amount to combined savings of around £15 million for Harrods and Selfridges, according to analysis from real estate adviser Altus Group.

It comes as the government said there would be a revaluation of more than half a million retail properties across England and Wales, meaning the rate of business tax they pay could change.

Furthermore, the chancellor pledged to remove the downwards cap - meaning businesses who see falling business rates bills as a result of revaluation will benefit from the decrease straight away.

Jerry Schurder, the business rates policy lead at Gerald Eve, said that it is an influential and highly anticipated change for businesses up and down the country.

“In the past, companies whose bills should be going down were not allowed to see those reductions immediately, which businesses have said is very unfair.

“Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses have really struggled since Covid and the transition to online shopping, and they said they should be able to see their bills go down immediately.”

Starmer accuses government of having ‘gone after working people’ with higher tax rates

Friday 18 November 2022 15:40 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Sir Keir Starmer accused the government of having “gone after working people” with tax hikes while doing “nothing about non-dom status”.

“The super-rich are not paying their taxes in this country,” the Labour leader told broadcasters during a visit to Swindon.

Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Pat McFadden said the Conservatives were refusing “to make fairer choices”.

“They continue to shield non-doms from paying their fair share of tax in Britain, leaving billions on the table,” he said.

The Institute for Public Policy Research estimates that abolishing the non-dom tax status would raise £3 billion per year.

In his autumn statement on Thursday, Mr Hunt hiked taxes by £25 billion including with a freeze on the income tax threshold, meaning millions will end up paying more.

Mr Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, was forced to say in April she would pay UK taxes on all her worldwide income after they faced criticism over her non-dom status.

It was estimated that Ms Murty, a fashion designer and the daughter of an Indian billionaire, could have saved up to £20 million in UK tax through the arrangement.

This week Mr Sunak said he would publish his personal tax return, in a bid for transparency.

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokeswoman Sarah Olney said: “Struggling families who have worked hard for years have had their security stolen by this Conservative Government.

“While non-doms and big banks got off lightly, the already squeezed middle are being pushed to the brink.”

IMF says Hunt’s Budget ‘strikes the right balance'

Friday 18 November 2022 15:12 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva told Jeremy Hunt in a call that his autumn statement “strikes the right balance”, following the UN financial institution’s criticism of Kwasi Kwarteng mini-budget.

She tweeted: “In a call with Chancellor Hunt today, I welcomed (British) autumn statement prepared at a difficult time for the UK economy, against strong global headwinds.

“It strikes the right balance between fiscal responsibility and protecting growth & vulnerable households.”

Prime minister and chancellor accused of shielding ‘super-rich’ by keeping non-dom tax loophole

Friday 18 November 2022 14:25 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt have been accused of shielding the super-rich from paying their fair share of tax by refusing to abolish the non-dom loophole.

The chancellor said on Friday it would be the “wrong thing” to end the controversial arrangement for those who live in the UK but pay no tax on their offshore income.

Mr Hunt disputed suggestions the move could raise £3 billion per year, arguing he would rather “would rather they stayed here and spent their money here” instead of moving abroad.

But he said he did not get Treasury estimates on ending the non-dom (non-domiciled) status, which the prime minister’s multi-millionaire wife has held.

The chancellor said officials were “very unsure about the figures that were being bandied around”.

“Like me they wanted to be very sure they weren’t doing things that damaged the UK’s attractiveness,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“These are foreigners who could live easily in Ireland, France, Portugal, Spain, they all have these schemes. All things being equal, I would rather they stayed here and spent their money here.”

Pressed whether the Treasury gave him a figure on how much abolishing the status would bring in, he said: “No, because we don’t agree with the figures that Labour have given.

“The Treasury did not tell me it was going to help the economy to do this, that’s why I chose not to do it.

“I’m not going to do anything that’s going to damage the long-term attractiveness of the UK, even though it gives easy shots to opposition parties, I think it would be the wrong thing to do in terms of creating jobs in the UK.”

Autumn budget cuts avoidable if those with ‘broadest shoulders’ pay more, Rachel Reeves says

Friday 18 November 2022 13:53 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Sturgeon says Scotland’s budget will be a ‘difficult balancing act'

Friday 18 November 2022 13:35 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland’s budget for next year will be a “difficult balancing act”.

Responding to the Chancellor’s autumn statement made on Thursday, the First Minister said that - “despite repeated requests” - there would be no support for the Scottish Government to deal with inflationary pressures in this year’s budget.

Instead, some £1.5 billion in Barnett consequentials will made available to the devolved administration over the next two years, described by Jeremy Hunt as “extra help”.

Writing in the Daily Record newspaper on Friday, the First Minister said: “Over the coming days, officials will scrutinise the numbers to understand precisely what the Chancellor’s statement means for next year’s Scottish budget, which will be presented to Parliament on December 15.

“It clearly will be a difficult balancing act, but we will do all we can within our limited resources to mitigate the impact of the cost of living crisis on Scotland’s families and businesses and continue building a fairer, greener and more prosperous Scotland.”

The statement laid out plans for billions of pounds of tax hikes and spending cuts to respond to financial pressures caused, in part, by Liz Truss’s mini budget.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney will lay out the draft Scottish budget on December 15.

UK economy damaged by ‘own goals’ like Brexit and Liz Truss’s budget, economists say

Friday 18 November 2022 13:16 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Britain’s economic situation has been made worse by a series of “economic own goals” by the government, a respected economic institute has said.

In his customary post-budget briefing the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies said the UK faced a “long, unpleasant journey” over the next few years.

The think-tank’s chief Paul Johnson warned that the drop in living standards forecast is the “biggest fall in living memory” and added: “Middle England is set for a shock”.

“This will hit everyone. But perhaps it will be those on middling sorts of incomes who feel the biggest hit.

“They won’t benefit from the targeted support to those on means-tested benefits. Their wages are falling and their taxes are rising. Middle England is set for a shock,” he said.

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone has more:

UK economy damaged by ‘own goals’ like Brexit and Liz Truss’s budget, economists say

Council tax set to be highest on record if local authorities allow Hunt’s plans

Friday 18 November 2022 13:00 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said Jeremy Hunt‘s plans to allow local authorities to hike council tax by five per cent will take rates to their highest on record.

Senior economist Stuart Adam said: “If they do that rather than say increase by three per cent a year that will increase council tax bills by £160 a year on average and leave us on course to have the highest ever real-terms council tax bills.

“The bigger point is this is essentially an increase in unreformed tax.

“Council tax remains regressive, distortionary and still based on hopelessly out-of-date property values.”

IFS says another ‘own goal’ for growth is the recent political chaos

Friday 18 November 2022 12:43 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said another “own goal” for growth is the political chaos of recent years.

Director Paul Johnson said: “The general economic and political instability and uncertainty that we’ve had over the last several years which are associated by Brexit and also with that mini-budget have definitely been a constraint on growth.

“There have been three prime ministers and four chancellors in a few months.

“And to be reversing policy here, there and everywhere, to be uncertain about your trading relationship with the rest of Europe, to have corporation tax going up, down and round and round and round, all of that is bad for growth.”

Chancellor believes social care reforms will happen if Tories win next election

Friday 18 November 2022 12:07 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The chancellor said he believes delayed social care reforms will be brought in if the Conservatives win the next general election, after doubt was cast over their fate.

Jeremy Hunt said it was not “easy” for him to delay the implementation of the long-promised social care cap and other charging reforms by two years.

On Thursday Mr Hunt said the changes - which he linked to Sir Andrew Dilnot, architect of the original plans for a care cap - would now be rolled out nationally in October 2025.

But the charity Age UK said the delay “raises serious questions over whether it will ever be introduced at all”.

And Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said he fears the delay “amounts to a death knell for these vital changes”.

“Government should not be making and then reneging on promises like this which matter so much to vulnerable people,” he said.

The reforms include an £86,000 cap on personal care cost contributions, and an expanded means test that is more generous than the existing one, which had been due to come into effect from October 2023.

On Friday the chancellor told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s not disappearing into the ether, but I agree it’s a source of great regret to me.

“I believe it will happen if the Conservatives win the next general election.”

Martin Lewis gives verdict after government launches tax hiking Budget

Friday 18 November 2022 11:45 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

In case you missed it...

Martin Lewis has given his verdict on the Budget after the government unveiled its autumn statement, including billions of pounds worth of tax hikes and spending cuts.

Jeremy Hunt promised to “tackle the cost-of-living crisis” and “rebuild our economy” as he set out plans for tax rises and spending cuts.

The Chancellor said there would be a “shallower downturn” as a result of his measures but the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) believed the economy was “now in recession”.

Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis said although the Budget provided some help to those on the lowest incomes through benefit increases and extension of energy bills support, those in the “squeezed middle” will face difficulty.

“It’s going to be difficult for everybody,” Mr Lewis told BBC World at One.

Thomas Kingsley reports:

Martin Lewis gives verdict after government launches tax hiking Budget

Biggest drop in living standards will ‘hit everyone’, IFS warns

Friday 18 November 2022 11:26 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) warned today that the biggest drop in living standards will “hit everyone” but that “Middle England is set for a shock” as the chancellor increases taxes as wages fall.

In comments that will further enrage Tories angered by the plans, the economic think tank’s director Paul Johnson said “higher taxes and a bigger state” are likely to stay over the “next several decades”.

Jacob Rees-Mogg is among the senior Conservatives who have criticised the £25 billion of tax rises unveiled by Mr Hunt in his autumn statement on Thursday as he acknowledged that the UK was already in recession.

But the chancellor hit back, defending his “very Conservative package to make sure we sort out the economy” and arguing there is “nothing Conservative about ducking difficult decisions”.

Mr Johnson warned that the drop in living standards forecast is the “biggest fall in living memory” and comes “off the back of very poor income growth for many years”.

“This will hit everyone. But perhaps it will be those on middling sorts of incomes who feel the biggest hit,” he said.

Public sector workers cannot expect real terms pay rises, IFS warns

Friday 18 November 2022 11:09 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Public sector workers cannot expect real terms pay rises unless there are large-scale job losses in public services, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned.

Presenting the think tank’s analysis of the autumn statement, IFS director Paul Johnson said public pay setting will remain one of the “biggest challenges” facing the government.

“It remains the case that government will not be able to fund pay rises that anywhere near match inflation from within planned spending totals unless there is a big loss of jobs,” he said.

Mr Johnson said plans in the autumn statement to cut public spending after 2025 “should be taken with a large pinch of salt”.

“If kept to they will mean cuts, if modest ones, to most public services. It is unlikely these spending plans will actually be kept to,” he said.

“Indeed, I would be willing to wager a considerable sum that spending will turn out higher than planned - as it literally always does.”

Higher tax era for UK as ‘middle England’ in for a shock, IFS says

Friday 18 November 2022 10:45 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

IFS director Paul Johnson said the country is in for “a long, hard, unpleasant journey” with the tax burden set to stay at the highest level in the country’s history.

“I would be most surprised if the tax burden gets back down to its long-term pre-Covid average at any time in the coming decades. Higher taxes look to be here to stay,” he said.

Presenting the think tank’s analysis of the autumn statement, he said those on “middling sorts of incomes” will feel the biggest hit to their living standards.

“They won’t benefit from the targeted support to those on means-tested benefits. Their wages are falling and their taxes are rising. Middle England is set for a shock,” he said.

“The truth is we just got a lot poorer. We are in for a long, hard, unpleasant journey; a journey that has been made more arduous than it might have been by a series of economic own-goals.

“Mr Hunt appears to have recognised this. After years of ‘cakeism’, his colleagues, the Opposition, and we the voters need to take that fact on board too.”

“Middle England” is set for a “shock” with those on middle incomes taking the biggest hit in the wake of Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned.

‘We just got a whole lot poorer,’ IFS says

Friday 18 November 2022 10:37 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

“We just got a whole lot poorer,” the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said in an analysis of the chancellor’s autumn statement.

“We are in for a long, hard, unpleasant journey; a journey that has been made more arduous that it might have been by a series of economic own goals.”

Stay tuned for more updates from the IFS’s analysis.

Jeremy Hunt insists non-dom tax loophole is good for the economy

Friday 18 November 2022 10:30 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Taxing non-doms will not help the economy, the chancellor has claimed – amid estimates changing the rules could raise £1 billion a year for the Treasury.

Jeremy Hunt said he would rather the super rich “stayed here and spent their money here” after he was questioned over why he did not change the rules.

Mr Hunt argued that scrapping the tax loophole, a policy Labour has suggested, would “damage the long-term attractiveness of the UK”.

Under non-dom rules people who actually live in the UK can officially “domicile” themselves abroad in exchange for a fee. The tax status allows the very wealthy to avoid paying vast amounts of tax.

Our policy correspondent, Jon Stone, has more:

Jeremy Hunt insists non-dom tax loophole is good for the economy

Martin Lewis met with Jeremy Hunt ahead of Autumn Budget

Friday 18 November 2022 10:13 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Money-saving expert Martin Lewis said he met the Chancellor earlier this week where he pushed hard for mortgage flexibility and forbearance for the “squeezed middle” ahead of spring.

Mr Lewis told LBC Radio: “We will see next spring we are going to have this perfect storm of energy bills going up, cost of living continuing to rise and energy bills at their peak. My concern is what do we do to get people over that hump.”

The money saving expert said he met Jeremy Hunt earlier this week to talk about private renters and those with mortgages, where he “pushed hard for there to be some improvements in the flexibility and the forbearance in mortgage packages” such as mortgage holidays and temporarily extending repayment terms.

Mr Lewis also said they discussed Mr Hunt calling a mortgage summit with the regulator and big lenders to discuss how they are going to get people through next spring.

“That was an important section missing in the budget yesterday but I’m thinking what the Chancellor wants to do is solve that through the private sector by pushing and encouraging the private sector to make changes and I’m pushing and encouraging the Chancellor to make sure he does that,” he said.

Asked what he would put to the Chancellor, Mr Lewis said: “We’re looking at interest rates in the UK at 5% and that means higher mortgage rates when people come off their (fixed-rate mortgages) next spring - What is he going to do to protect those in the squeezed middle with mortgages and paying private rents?”

Treasury did not give Hunt savings estimates for abolishing non-dom tax status

Friday 18 November 2022 09:57 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Jeremy Hunt said the Treasury did not give him estimates on how much abolishing the non-dom tax status would raise, saying he would rather the super rich “stayed here and spent their money here”.

The chancellor told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “They said to me that they were very unsure about the figures that were being bandied around, as far as the savings were concerned.

“Like me they wanted to be very sure they weren’t doing things that damaged the UK’s attractiveness. These are foreigners who could live easily in Ireland, France, Portugal, Spain, they all have these schemes. All things being equal, I would rather they stayed here and spent their money here.”

Pressed whether the Treasury gave him a figure on how much abolishing the status would bring in, he said: “No, because we don’t agree with the figures that Labour have given.

“The Treasury did not tell me it was going to help the economy to do this, that’s why I chose not to do it.

“I’m not going to do anything that’s going to damage the long-term attractiveness of the UK, even though it gives easy shots to opposition parties, I think it would be the wrong thing to do in terms of creating jobs in the UK.”

Chancellor concedes Brexit made EU barriers and says migration ‘very important'

Friday 18 November 2022 09:41 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal has caused damaging trade barriers with the European Union, the Chancellor has conceded, as he said immigration will be “very important” for the economy.

Jeremy Hunt insisted the UK would find a way to improve trading ties with the EU without rejoining the single market.

His comments came after the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said Brexit caused a “significant adverse impact” to trade volumes and business relationships between UK and EU firms.

Asked if rejoining the single market would boost growth, the Chancellor told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think having unfettered trade with our neighbours and countries all over the world is very beneficial to growth.

“I have great confidence that over the years ahead we will find outside the single market we are able to remove the vast majority of the trade barriers that exist between us and the EU. It will take time.”

Pressed on the single market, he said: “I don’t think it’s the right way to boost growth because it would be against what people were voting for when they supported Brexit which was to have control of our borders and membership of the single market requires free movement of people.

“So I think we can find other ways that will more than compensate for those advantages.”

Mr Hunt insisted that immigration is required to boost growth.

“There needs to be a long-term plan if we’re going to bring down migration in a way that doesn’t harm the economy,” he said.

“We are recognising that we will need migration for the years ahead - that will be very important for the economy, yes.”

The Chancellor insisted Home Secretary Suella Braverman backs his plans, saying: “Her priority is to reduce illegal migration and deal with the small boats issue.”

The Brexit deal brokered by Mr Johnson while prime minister saw the UK leave the EU’s single market and create barriers to doing business with Britain’s largest trading partner.

On Thursday, the OBR said: “Our trade forecast reflects our assumption that Brexit will result in the UK’s trade intensity being 15% lower in the long run than if the UK had remained in the EU.

“The latest evidence suggests that Brexit has had a significant adverse impact on UK trade, via reducing both overall trade volumes and the number of trading relationships between UK and EU firms.”

The OBR also forecasts payments of £18.9 billion to Brussels under the terms of the Brexit divorce deal between 2022-23 and 2027-28.

Forecasts see ‘biggest deterioration’ since statement, think tank says

Friday 18 November 2022 09:25 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The Resolution Foundation said Thursday’s autumn statement saw the biggest deterioration in forecasts since the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) was launched in 2010 due to the “damage” from higher interest rates.

James Smith, research director at the foundation, said: “What we saw yesterday was the biggest deterioration in the overall forecasts since the OBR started producing these forecasts.

“What is doing the damage here is higher interest rates.

“Higher inflation and higher interest rate costs are both doing damage to the fiscal position.”

Next two years will be ‘challenging’ for everyone, says chancellor Jeremy Hunt

Friday 18 November 2022 09:06 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Martin Lewis says people ‘in the middle’ will feel the squeeze

Friday 18 November 2022 08:50 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Money expert Martin Lewis said people in the middle are going to feel the biggest squeeze in light of chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Budget.

Speaking to LBC Radio on Friday, Mr Lewis said: “I was relatively relieved that we saw the uplifting of those who are the poorest in society.”

But he added: “Clearly the people who bare the brunt on this, we’re going to have a squeezed middle.”

Mr Lewis explained that people in the middle will receive £400 in energy payments this year but not next year, meaning they will see a rise of around 41% on energy bills that have already doubled this year.

“That is just an enormous wack,” he said.

“That is why it’s people in the middle who are really going to feel the squeeze.”

Chancellor says government yet to make fuel duty decision

Friday 18 November 2022 08:38 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Jeremy Hunt said the government has not made a decision to hike fuel duty.

The chancellor told BBC Breakfast: “Let me clear that up, that is not Government policy, we’ll make a decision on that at the next budget in the spring.

“That was just an assumption that the OBR made.”

‘No decision’ on whether to raise fuel duty by 23%, Jeremy Hunt says

Friday 18 November 2022 08:29 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

The government has made “no decision” on whether to increase the rate of fuel duty on petrol, Jeremy Hunt has said.

Speaking on Friday morning the chancellor said the government would decide whether to increase the tax in its spring budget next year.

Mr Hunt had made no mention of a rise in his autumn statement on Thursday – but Office for Budget Responsibility documents released after the announcement said a 23 per cent rise was on the cards from March.

Such an increase would add 12p to a litre of fuel, the rise first in a decade of the rate of duty being frozen.

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone has more:

Jeremy Hunt insists ‘no decision’ made on raising fuel duty by 23%

Rachel Reeves says not extending windfall taxes is ‘unforgivable'

Friday 18 November 2022 08:15 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said the government’s decision to not extend the windfall taxes on energy company is “unforgivable”.

She told BBC Breakfast she is “seriously worried” about the increases in income tax, council tax, fuel duty and energy prices in March next year.

“One thing yesterday which was a big mistake of the government was not to extend the windfall tax in the way that Labour has been arguing for because every pound left on the table on windfall tax is a pound that could be spent in easing these cost-of-living pressures that exist at the moment.

“Look, we all know there are difficult choices to be made because of the mess the Conservatives have made on the economy.

“But leaving money on the table - the windfalls of war that the energy companies are making - is making the bills higher for ordinary working families and that is unforgivable.”

 (PA)
(PA)

Not ‘easy’ to delay social care cap, chancellor says

Friday 18 November 2022 08:06 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Jeremy Hunt said it was not “easy” for him to delay the social care cap, which he insisted he “passionately did not want to do”.

The chancellor told BBC Breakfast: “I don’t pretend this was an easy thing for me to do given what I said in 2013 but it does mean we can give overall a bigger increase to social care than it’s ever had in its history.

“Some of those decisions are very hard for me as chancellor. I’m a Conservative chancellor that has put up taxes, I’ve had to delay those Dilnot reforms to social care which is something I passionately did not want to do.

“But I’m doing it because we face an international economic crisis and I recognise that people are worried about the future and I’m prepared to do difficult things even if they’re things I wouldn’t personally choose to do, because they’re the right thing for the country.”

Chancellor says he is ‘not guilty’ of deferring difficult decisions

Friday 18 November 2022 07:59 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Jeremy Hunt said he is “not guilty” of bottling the difficult decisions by putting off cuts until after the next general election.

The chancellor told BBC Breakfast: “I mean you can accuse me of many failings but looking at the front pages of the newspapers today, to say we have ducked any of the difficult decisions facing the British economy is the one charge we are not guilty of.”

Autumn budget is a ‘long-term plan’ that will take us ‘to the other side'

Friday 18 November 2022 07:48 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Jeremy Hunt has defended the Conservative’s reversal in tax pledges saying “there are much bigger issues to solve than what happened in the mini-Budget”.

He added: “What we announced yesterday was a long-term plan to see us through to the other side.”

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Hunt says autumn statement is a ‘very Conservative package'

Friday 18 November 2022 07:35 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Jeremy Hunt told Tory critics of his high-tax plans that his autumn statement was “a very Conservative package”.

The chancellor told Sky News: “The Office for Budgetary Responsibility said yesterday that what we’re doing is actually recession shallow, it’s saving jobs.

“But what I would say to my Conservative colleagues is there is nothing Conservative about spending money that you haven’t got, there is nothing Conservative about not tackling inflation, there is nothing Conservative about ducking difficult decisions that put the economy on track.

“And we’ve done all of those things and that is why this is a very Conservative package to make sure we sort out the economy.

“None of this is easy, but it’s the right thing to do.”

Autumn statement adds pressure on 'squeezed middle,' think tank says

Friday 18 November 2022 07:30 , Sravasti Dasgupta

Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement has piled further pressure on the “squeezed middle” according to analysis from the Resolution Foundation.

“A typical household faces a permanent 3.7 per cent income hit from these measures - the same as the top fifth of households - and bigger than the 3 per cent income hit that the very top twentieth of households will face,” the foundation was quoted as saying by PA news agency.

Earlier, Mr Hunt was warned by the think tank his planned spending cuts may prove “undeliverable” as he faced criticism from some senior Tories for raising taxes as he seeks to rebuild the UK’s battered public finances.

The Resolution Foundation think tank said such cuts were “likely to be undeliverable” as they would require “years of holding down public sector wages below those in the private sector”.

More than half of 2,000 workers surveyed by the Living Wage Foundation said they have used a food bank over the past year, with many paying more visits in recent months (Luciana Guerra/PA) (PA Wire)
More than half of 2,000 workers surveyed by the Living Wage Foundation said they have used a food bank over the past year, with many paying more visits in recent months (Luciana Guerra/PA) (PA Wire)

Next two years will be ‘challenging’, chancellor says

Friday 18 November 2022 07:26 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Jeremy Hunt warned that the next two years will be challenging.

The chancellor told Sky News his autumn statement package will help get the economy “on an even keel”, but added: “Over the next two years it is going to be challenging.

“But I think people want a government that is taking difficult decisions, has a plan that will bring down inflation, stop those big rises in the cost of energy bills and the weekly shop, and at the same time is taking measures to get through this difficult period.”

This is not a government. It is a rolling experiential performance art piece

Friday 18 November 2022 07:10 , Sravasti Dasgupta

Yet another day, then, to just breathe it all in. Events not to try to understand, but merely to wonder at. The Tory party, yet again, in its full pomp, its full majesty.

At its most staggeringly, most marvellously ridiculous.It is not a government, it is a rolling experiential performance art piece, of which the latest character to take centre stage is Jeremy Hunt.

Tom Peck writes:

This is not a government. It is an experiential performance art piece | Tom Peck

The killer line from the Budget

Friday 18 November 2022 06:50 , Sravasti Dasgupta

“Are me and my family better off with a Conservative government? And the answer is no.”

That was the killer line from the shadow chancellor’s response to the autumn Budget today, the one that will get all the clips on the evening news.

It also confirmed something I’ve been thinking for a while: Labour has a new “great clunking fist”.

Ed Dorrell writes:

Opinion: The killer line from the autumn Budget belonged to Rachel Reeves

Rees-Mogg lashes out at Hunt's autumn statement

Friday 18 November 2022 06:30 , Sravasti Dasgupta

Former business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg has accused Jeremy Hunt of taking the “easy option” in Thursday’s autumn statement.

He said the country needed lower taxes to drive up growth after Mr Hunt acknowledged that the UK was already in recession.

Mr Rees-Mogg criticised the chancellor’s approach and said: “I think we need to look at the efficiency of government to make sure money is well spent before reaching for the easy option of putting up taxes.”

“What we actually need to be doing is having a strategy for growth and looking to lower taxes,” he told Channel 4 News.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has criticised the autumn statement (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Archive)
Jacob Rees-Mogg has criticised the autumn statement (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Archive)

What are stealth taxes?

Friday 18 November 2022 06:10 , Sravasti Dasgupta

Jeremy Hunt unveiled a package of tax rises worth £24bn and spending cuts of £30bn in order to plug a massive funding black hole in Treasury coffers and reassure the global financial markets that Britain remains a trusted trading partner.

His programme was tipped in advance to contain a number of “stealth taxes” to draw in additional revenue from income tax, national insurance, pensions savings, inheritance tax and VAT in the long to medium term.

But what exactly is meant by a “stealth tax”?

Joe Sommerlad reports:

What are stealth taxes?

ICYMI: All the key points from Jeremy Hunt’s statement

Friday 18 November 2022 05:50 , Sravasti Dasgupta

Jeremy Hunt has delivered his autumn statement, confirming tax rises for millions and deep public spending cuts as he seeks to repair the public finances following a series of shocks to the economy.

Mr Hunt set out some £30 billion in spending cuts and £24 billion in tax rises over the next five years.

Matt Mathers details some of the measures included in the budget and what they mean:

Autumn Budget 2022: All the key points from Jeremy Hunt’s statement

Jeremy Hunt’s autumn Budget: What he said – and what he really meant

Friday 18 November 2022 05:30 , Sravasti Dasgupta

What he said: “We are honest about the challenges and we are fair in our solutions.”

What he meant: “Liz Truss sold you fairytales and Labour are pretending that her tax cuts for the rich are still happening.”

Our chief political commentator John Rentoul imagines what the chancellor was thinking as he delivered his fiscal event.

Read here:

Jeremy Hunt’s autumn Budget: What he said – and what he really meant | John Rentoul

Autumn statement sets scene for ‘grim’ fall in living standards

Friday 18 November 2022 05:10 , Sravasti Dasgupta

In his autumn statement designed to rein in inflation and restore financial stability, Jeremy Hunt deployed stealth taxes totalling £25bn and £30bn of cuts to public services to fill a £55bn gap in the government’s books.

Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Paul Johnson, said: “The next few years look grim in terms of living standards, the biggest reduction in household incomes, possibly on record and certainly within recent generations.”

“Painful” interest payments on state debt are at their highest since 1948 at 4.8 per cent of GDP and will soon top £100bn a year, more than spending on any public service apart from the NHS, he said.

Andrew Woodcock, Rob Merrick report:

Jeremy Hunt statement sets scene for ‘grim’ fall in living standards

Hunt denies deferring 'horrible decision' until after election

Friday 18 November 2022 04:50 , Sravasti Dasgupta

Jeremy Hunt denied deferring “a horrible decision” in his autumn statement despite postponing spending cuts until after the next elections.

The chancellor told ITV’s Peston programme: “Well I think that a Conservative Chancellor who stands up in the Commons and announces £25 billion of tax rises, I don’t think anyone would say that is deferring a horrible decision.

“That is confronting this problem head on and what support we can give to the economy in the next two years, of course we do while we’re going through a recession.

“But in the end what the country wants, what families want, is the confidence that comes from honesty about the problems but also having a plan in place that gives them hope for the future that we can get through this, as we absolutely can.”

 (UK Parliament)
(UK Parliament)

Hunt warns of 'real challenges' for families

Friday 18 November 2022 04:30 , Sravasti Dasgupta

Jeremy Hunt has warned of real challenges for families while defending his autumn statement.

In an interview with BBC’s political editor Chris Mason, Mr Hunt said: “These are real challenges for families up and down the country.”

“I’m not pretending these aren’t going to be difficult times, but there’s a plan, there’s hope - and if we follow this plan, if we stick with it, we can get through to the other side.

“We need to be sensible about the way we do this. We don’t want to make the recession worse.”

He also denied that he had been forced to raise taxes and reduce spending because of the turmoil caused by former prime minister Liz Truss’s mini-Budget.

He said that the government had “corrected” mistakes within weeks.

Jeremy Hunt defended his plans (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)
Jeremy Hunt defended his plans (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

What the budget means for the UK’s effort to tackle climate change

Friday 18 November 2022 03:30 , Natalie Crockett

Jeremy Hunt’s autumn Budget will not mirror the wish list of policies advocated by environmentalists and climate campaigners in the UK and abroad.

But there are some bright spots that many will find reassuring after months of concern about the growing influence of the net-zero sceptical wing of the Conservative Party.

Unveiling his statement, Mr Hunt said the UK remained “fully committed” to the Glasgow Climate Pact agreed at Cop26 last year, including meeting a 68 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, he added.

Those words were welcomed by environmentalists, who are anxiously awaiting the final outcome of the Cop27 summit in Egypt that is due to draw to a close on Friday. But, as ever, the devil is in the detail.

Here, my colleague Saphora Smith, looks at what Thursday’s Budget means for UK efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

ICYMI: All the key points in the autumn Budget

Friday 18 November 2022 03:00 , Natalie Crockett

Jeremy Hunt has delivered his autumn statement, confirming tax rises for millions and deep public spending cuts as he seeks to repair the public finances following a series of shocks to the economy.

The chancellor said his plan would aim to “rebuild our economy” in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic, Liz Truss’s disastrous September mini-Budget and Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, which is fuelling rampant inflation.

Addressing MPs in the House of Commons on Thursday morning, Mr Hunt said the government’s priorities “are stability, growth, and public services”. He also vowed to “protect the most vulnerable.”

From what it means for taxes, inflation and spending cuts, my colleague Matt Mathers explains the measures included in the budget and what they mean.

 (UK Parliament/AFP)
(UK Parliament/AFP)

A ‘Budget for the embattled high street'

Friday 18 November 2022 02:30 , Natalie Crockett

Businesses have welcomed the chancellor’s £13.6 billion package of property tax support.

The move means business rates will no longer be hiked in line with double-digit inflation from April.

The Treasury also pledged to increase rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure firms from 50 per cent to 75 per cent for 2023 to 2024.

Robert Hayton, the UK president of real estate adviser Altus Group, praised the autumn statement as a “budget for the embattled high street” that has listened to and acted upon the concerns voiced by retailers.

He said: “This is a budget for the embattled high street where rents have been in decline for a number of years.”

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which works with more than 5,000 business members, said the announcements showed the government has “heard the concerns of the retail industry”.

“This autumn statement supports retailers by reducing upwards pressure on prices in the short term, and helping retailers protect jobs, keep shops open, and protect the vibrancy of local communities.”

High street shops are set to benefit from changes to business rates (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)
High street shops are set to benefit from changes to business rates (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

Friday 18 November 2022 02:00 , Natalie Crockett

Jeremy Hunt has fended off criticism of his autumn budget and denied that he put off difficult decisions, despite delaying spending cuts until after the next general election.

Mr Hunt told ITV's Peston programme: "I think that a Conservative chancellor who stands up in the Commons and announced £25 billion of tax rises, I don't think anyone would say that is deferring a horrible decision.

"That is confronting this problem head-on and what support we can give to the economy in the next two years, of course we do while we're going through a recession.

"In the end, what the country wants, what families want, is the confidence that comes from honesty about the problems, but also having a plan in place that gives them hope for the future that we can get through this, as we absolutely can."

Benefits rises ‘too little too late’

Friday 18 November 2022 01:30 , Natalie Crockett

Benefits claimants facing a "dark" Christmas due to tightened finances have said rises promised in Jeremy Hunt’s budget will come "too late".

The chancellor pledged a cost-of-living payment of £900 to households on means-tested benefits and £150 for disability benefit claimants. Disability and working-age benefits will also rise by 10.1%, in line with September inflation, from April next year.

While the increase was welcomed by many, others told the PA news agency the support comes "too late".

Jason Alcock, 51, a disabled widower who was forced to sell his dead wife's possessions to cover his living costs, questioned why the help wouldn’t come before April. "We need it now," said Mr Alcock, from Stoke-on-Trent.

"We're going to have a really cold winter and people are going to die because they're not going to turn on their heating.”

Nicholas Wilson, 65, from Hastings, East Sussex, faces losing his home because increasing mortgage costs have outgrown his benefits allowance.

"It's a good thing, but 10.1% of very little is still very little," Mr Wilson told PA.

"It's coming too late... we've got winter to get through with fuel bills.

"Something needs to be done now, effective straight away... it's a typical Tory budget - hammers the poor and protects the rich."

Jeremy Hunt has defended his plans (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)
Jeremy Hunt has defended his plans (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

UK recession ‘very bad news’ for Ireland

Friday 18 November 2022 01:00 , Natalie Crockett

The Irish deputy premier has vowed that the UK won’t drag Ireland into a recession.

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said news that the UK economy would shrink 2% by 2024 was "very bad news", as it is one of Ireland's biggest trading partners as well as its nearest neighbour.

"Anything that happens in their economy will affect ours," he said.

Mr Varadkar, who is set to return as Irish premier (Taoiseach) next month, blamed not just the war in Ukraine, but also Brexit and some recent policy decisions by the UK government.

"Those are the factors ... but I don't believe they're dragging us into recession," he said.

"Our economy decoupled from theirs a long time ago ... it's still our expectation that next year our economy will grow slightly and employment will continue to grow as well."

Hunt’s statement ‘better than what we might have seen from some Tories in the past'

Friday 18 November 2022 00:30 , Natalie Crockett

Scottish First minister Nicola Sturgeon has said there was “no good gloss” that can be put on Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement.

Speaking on the Peston show on Thursday evening, Ms Sturgeon said the Tories had started with a “massive black hole” that was “largely created by their own incompetence”.

But she said Jeremy Hunt’s approach to the statement was “better than what we might have seen from some Tories in the past”.

“That is a lot of spin to try to cover up I think a really, really grim situation. You know, we are seeing a tax rises, spending cuts, budgets being eroded by inflation, household incomes over the next two years are projected to reduce in real terms by 7 per cent, the UK in recession, so I’m not sure there is any good gloss that can be put on the announcements that the chancellor had to make today.”

Asked if the Scottish government would follow suit with tax increases, she said the Scottish government would look at the options ahead of its budget statement in mid-December and put forward a “progressive approach” designed to “protect public services” as much as possible.

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

Grim historic milestones facing economy

Friday 18 November 2022 00:01 , Jane Dalton

Households face four significant economic milestones, including the biggest drop in disposable income since records began, taking living standards back to levels last seen in 2013-1:

Autumn statement 2022: Grim historic milestones facing the UK economy

Opinion: The killer line of the day belonged to Rachel Reeves

Thursday 17 November 2022 23:30 , Jane Dalton

Voters need to ask themselves one important question, we were told immediately after the chancellor had sat down: “Are me and my family better off with a Conservative government? And the answer is no.” That was the killer line from the shadow chancellor’s response, Ed Dorrell writes:

Opinion: The killer line from the autumn Budget belonged to Rachel Reeves

Squeezed middle to face difficulty, says Martin Lewis

Thursday 17 November 2022 22:55 , Jane Dalton

Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis said although the Budget provided some help to those on the lowest incomes through benefit increases and extension of energy bills support, those in the “squeezed middle”, who don’t receive benefits, would face difficulty.

Martin Lewis gives verdict after government launches tax hiking Budget

NHS given only half the total needed, says health chief

Thursday 17 November 2022 22:22 , Jane Dalton

The increase in NHS funding is only about half of what the health service needs, an expert says.

Nuffield Trust chief executive Nigel Edwards, said: “The NHS warned it needed more money to cope with the impact of inflation on its costs.

“Today’s autumn statement has provided much-needed extra cash from April over the next two years, but this is only around half of what the NHS had warned last month would likely be needed.

“It also does not account for the £2.5bn worth of inflation and other unexpected cost pressures the NHS has faced this current financial year.

“The impact of today’s funding announcement is that real terms health spending per head after adjusting for age will increase by less than 1% for the next two years.

“This is compared to the long-term average of 2.6% and comes at a time when the NHS cannot afford to stand still and is desperately trying increase the work it can do to clear record waiting times.”

Tories call on Hunt to cancel rise in fuel tax rise

Thursday 17 November 2022 22:10 , Jane Dalton

Tory MPs are demanding an assurance from Jeremy Hunt that he will not go ahead with a planned rise in fuel duty following a warning it would add 12p to the price of a litre of petrol or diesel.

In its latest economic forecasts, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) noted that the rise - which is pencilled in for next March - would bring in a record cash increase of £5.7 billion if it goes ahead.

The OBR also noted that chancellors have repeatedly frozen the duty - even though it is supposed to rise each year in line with the RPI rate of inflation - in the face of concerted opposition.

The Treasury said a final decision on the rate would not be taken until the next budget in the spring.

In a letter to the Chancellor, Tory backbencher Jonathan Gullis warned that if he tried to go ahead with the rise it would be opposed by a substantial number of Conservative MPs.

Energy firms and banks prop up FTSE but pound plummets

Thursday 17 November 2022 21:50 , Jane Dalton

The pound plummeted but the FTSE was propped up by rises in energy companies and banks, which breathed a sigh of relief following the Chancellor’s budget.

Shares in SSE and British Gas owner Centrica pushed towards the top of the FTSE-100 after their gas-generation arms escaped unscathed from the windfall tax on energy generators that the Chancellor announced.

The news that the banking surcharge tax would be cut from 8% to 3% helped out many of the UK’s biggest lenders.

Lloyds, NatWest, Standard Chartered and Barclays were all in the green.

The FTSE-100 ended the day down just 4.65 points, closing at 7,346.54.

But for the second Budget in a row the pound had a nightmare day. By the time stock markets closed in London the currency had lost more than 1% against the dollar, trading at around 1.18.

Energy hike rough justice for 2 million low-earner households, say experts

Thursday 17 November 2022 21:23 , Jane Dalton

Around 2.3 million low-income households face a £500 average hike in energy bills in the middle of a recession without receiving additional support, economists have warned.

The Resolution Foundation think tank warned of “rough justice”.

Mr Hunt made former-prime minister Liz Truss’s energy price guarantee far less generous, with the typical household bill spiking from £2,500 to £3,000 in April.

Much of the axed help will be diverted to poorer households, with more than 8 million UK households on means-tested benefits getting the extra support of a £900 cost-of-living payment.

But the Resolution Foundation warned those who earn a single pound too much on the wrong side of a “huge cliff-edge” will receive nothing.

Chief executive Torsten Bell said: “In the short term the Chancellor has announced a smaller but more progressive energy support package, with two-thirds going to the poorest half of households.

“But there will still be plenty of rough justice - particularly for the 2.3 million low-income households who don’t receive means-tested benefits and therefore don’t qualify for lump-sum payments.”

Rees-Mogg attacks tax hikes as ‘easy option'

Thursday 17 November 2022 21:00 , Jane Dalton

Former cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has criticised Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement, accusing him of taking the “easy option” of putting up taxes.

Jacob Rees-Mogg criticises Jeremy Hunt for taking ‘easy option of putting up taxes’

What Hunt said – and what he really meant

Thursday 17 November 2022 20:12 , Jane Dalton

Chief political commentator John Rentoul thinks he knows what the chancellor was thinking as he delivered his autumn statement:

Jeremy Hunt’s autumn Budget: What he said – and what he really meant | John Rentoul

Tories ‘must rebuild trust on economy to secure election success'

Thursday 17 November 2022 18:55 , Natalie Crockett

Jeremy Hunt has said the Conservatives will have to rebuild trust on the economy if they are to stand a chance of winning the next general election.

Following his autumn statement, Mr Hunt told the BBC: “I am not pretending these aren’t going to be difficult times but there is a plan, there is hope and if we follow this plan, if we can stick with it, we can get through to the other side, make the recession shallower than it might otherwise have been and give hope to families that we can get back to more normality.

“Conservatives win elections when they are trusted with the economy. What you have seen today is a Conservative Chancellor outlining a very difficult path that gets us through this crisis.”

Wind and solar farms to be taxed on ‘excess’ profits but gas and coal exempt

Thursday 17 November 2022 18:25 , Jane Dalton

Wind and solar farms across the UK will have to hand over close to half of their excess profits, the Government has announced, in a plan that the industry said could deter much-needed investment.

The windfall tax on renewables, biomass and nuclear power generators will be set at 45%, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced on Thursday. But gas and coal generators will be exempt.

Meanwhile the Government also upped the windfall tax on oil giants such as Shell and BP who drill in the North Sea from 25% to 35%.

The two taxes are significantly different. The oil and gas companies will be allowed to claim back most of their extra tax if they invest in the UK, but there is no way for the wind farms to claw back any of their windfall tax.

However, the 35% will be levied on all of the oil and gas companies’ North Sea profits, while wind farms and other renewables will only be charged 45% on anything above £75 per megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity they use.

“This windfall tax on low carbon power risks deterring investment, at a time when the Chancellor should be incentivising clean energy,” said Dan McGrail, the chief executive of trade body Renewable UK.

“Unlike in oil and gas, under this levy, companies which are making significant investments in renewables will get no tax relief and will be hit by a higher windfall rate.”

Mr Hunt hopes the taxes can raise around £14 billion for the Treasury between them next year.

Chancellor meets school pupils after Budget

Thursday 17 November 2022 17:38 , Natalie Crockett

The chancellor met school pupils after delivering his Budget.

He met pupils at St Jude’s Church of England Primary School in south London.

 (PA)
(PA)

House prices forecast to fall by 9 per cent

Thursday 17 November 2022 16:45 , Jane Dalton

The Office for Budget Responsibility predicts that house prices will fall by 9 per cent between now and the third quarter of 2024.

This will be “largely driven by significantly higher mortgage rates as well as the wider economic downturn”, experts forecast, after Jeremy Hunt announced that stamp duty cuts will only last until 21 March 2025:

What does the Autumn Budget mean for house prices?

Benefits boost ‘built on quicksand without housing benefit rise’

Thursday 17 November 2022 16:20 , Jane Dalton

A homelessness charity has slated the chancellor for not increasing housing benefit.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “There is a housing hole in this budget - housing benefit remains frozen at 2020 levels when private rents have been rising at record rates.

“Increasing Universal Credit will really help people struggling to pay their food and fuel bills, but crucially it doesn’t cover rents which are most people’s biggest outgoing.

“Unless housing benefit is increased, the shortfall with real rents will only grow - swallowing up other benefit increases.

“The boost to benefits will be built on quicksand.”

More NHS savings must be made, says expert

Thursday 17 November 2022 15:55 , Jane Dalton

An independent health think tank says the money Jeremy Hunt is giving the NHS in the budget will still mean savings will have to be found.

Richard Murray, chief executive of the King’s Fund, said: “The additional £3.3bn funding for the NHS budget is important recognition from the Government that the health service is on its knees trying to meet demand and keep patients safe.

“However, with NHS funding on a knife edge, it will force the service to focus solely on its top priorities and go further on an already ambitious efficiency programme.

“We warmly welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to a workforce plan with independently verified projections for staff numbers over the next 15 years which means that health and care services can plan to train, recruit and retain the staff they need in future.

“We hope the necessary resources will also be put in place to meet these needs.”

Social care cost cap plans delayed

Thursday 17 November 2022 15:35 , Jane Dalton

The government’s plans to cap social care costs at £86,000 per person will be delayed for two years to take pressure off services, the chancellor has announced:

Jeremy Hunt delays social care cost cap plans

‘Stealth’ taxes explained

Thursday 17 November 2022 15:30 , Jane Dalton

Jeremy Hunt is raising more revenue for the economy through changes to income tax, national insurance, pensions savings, inheritance tax and VAT in the long to medium term, using “stealth” taxes. Joe Sommerlad explains what they are:

What are stealth taxes?

Another 232,000 taxpayers will pay top rate

Thursday 17 November 2022 15:18 , Jane Dalton

An extra 232,000 people will be paying the top rate of income tax from April, according to Treasury figures, after Jeremy Hunt lowered the threshold from £150,000 to £125,140.

Economy to shrink 2% as government debt soars, says watchdog

Thursday 17 November 2022 15:03 , Jane Dalton

Government debt is set to balloon £400 billion higher than previously expected, warned the fiscal watchdog as it unveiled a bleak outlook for the economy.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast the UK economy would shrink by 2% in total over a lengthy recession that started earlier this year.

It said the economy would shrink further next year due to sky-high inflation.

The OBR said squeezed incomes, higher interest rates and tumbling house prices - which it expects to drop by 9% by 2024 - are all set to contribute to a recession lasting just over a year.

The official forecaster downgraded previous projections that the economy would actually grow by 1.8% in 2023 to a fall of 1.4% for the year.

Growth expectations for the following year were also downgraded in the face of continued inflationary pressure.

It has, however, slightly upgraded the total economic growth expected this year to 4.2% from 3.8% in the March statement.

The OBR has also predicted that inflation will hit an average rate of 9.1% this year and 7.4% in 2023.

Watch: Electric car owners to start paying road tax from 2025

Thursday 17 November 2022 14:55 , Jane Dalton

Electric vehicles (EVs) will no longer be exempt from vehicle excise duty (VED) from April 2025.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced that he wanted to make motoring taxes “fairer” as he revealed the policy in his autumn statement.

He said company car tax rates will remain lower for EVs than traditionally fuelled vehicles, but will increase by one percentage point for three years from 2025.