Chancellor Jeremy Hunt outlined a targeted package of support alongside measures to get debt and government borrowing down in his autumn statement today. The plan he set out is designed to fight inflation.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said: "There is a global energy crisis, a global inflation crisis and a global economic crisis. But today with this plan for stability, growth and public services, we will face into the storm. We do so today with British resilience and British compassion.
"Because of the difficult decisions we take in our plan, we strengthen our public finances, bring down inflation and protect jobs."
Cost of living payments
The Chancellor announced a package of support worth £26 billion, which includes continued support for rising energy bills. More than eight million households on means-tested benefits will receive a cost-of-living payment of £900 in instalments, with £300 to pensioners and £150 for people on disability benefits.
The Energy Price Guarantee, which is protecting households throughout this winter by capping typical energy bills at £2,500, will continue to provide support from April 2023 with the cap rising to £3,000. With prices forecast to remain elevated throughout next year, this equates to an average of £500 support for households in 2023-24.
Benefits and pensions
Working age benefits will rise by 10.1%, boosting the finances of millions of the poorest people in the UK, and the Triple Lock will be protected, meaning pensioners will also get a rise in the State Pension and the Pension Credit in line with inflation.
The National Living Wage will be increased by 9.7% to £10.42 an hour, giving a full-time worker a pay rise of over £1,600 a year, benefitting 2 million of the lowest paid workers.
Electric vehicles (EVs) will no longer be exempt from vehicle excise duty (VED) from April 2025. 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.
The Chancellor also announced a £13.6 billion package of support for business rates payers in England. To protect businesses from rising inflation the multiplier will be frozen in 2023-24 while relief for 230,000 businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure sectors was also increased from 50% to 75% next year.
To help businesses adjust to the revaluation of their properties, which takes effect from April 2023, the Chancellor announced a £1.6 billion Transitional Relief scheme to cap bill increases for those who will see higher bills. This limits bill increases for the smallest properties to 5%. Businesses seeing lower bills as a result of the revaluation will benefit from that decrease in full straight away, as the Chancellor abolished downwards transitional reliefs caps. Small businesses who lose eligibility for either Small Business or Rural Rate Relief as a result of the new property revaluations will see their bill increases capped at £50 a month through a new separate scheme worth over £500 million.
NHS and schools funding
Access to funding for the NHS and social care in England is being increased by up to £8 billion in 2024-25. The schools budget will receive £2.3 billion of additional funding in each of 2023-24 and 2024-25, enabling continued investment in high quality teaching and tutoring and restoring 2010 levels of per pupil funding in real terms.
Government departmental budgets
All other departments will have their Spending Review settlements to 2024-25 honoured in full, with no cash cuts, but will be expected to work more efficiently to live within these and support the government’s mission of fiscal discipline. To improve public finances, from 2025-26 onwards day to day spending will increase more slowly by 1% above inflation, with capital spending maintained at current levels in cash terms. This means departmental spending will still be £90 billion higher in real terms by 2027-28, compared with 2019-20 while £30 billion of public spending will be saved.
The threshold at which higher earners start to pay the 45p rate will be reduced from £150,000 to £125,140, while Income Tax, Inheritance Tax and National Insurance thresholds will be frozen for a further two years until April 2028. The Dividend Allowance will be reduced from £2,000 to £1,000 next year, and £500 from April 2024 and the Annual Exempt Amount in capital gains tax will be reduced from £12,300 to £6,000 next year and then to £3,000 from April 2024.
The most profitable businesses with the broadest shoulders will also be asked to bear more of the burden. The threshold for employer National Insurance contributions will be fixed until April 2028, but the Employment Allowance will continue to protect 40% of businesses from paying any NICS at all.
To ensure businesses making extraordinary profits as a result of high energy prices also pay their fair share, from 1 January 2023 the Energy Profits Levy on oil and gas companies will increase from 25% to 35%, with the levy remaining in place until the end of March 2028, and a new, temporary 45% levy will be introduced for electricity generators. Together these measures will raise over £55 billion from this year until 2027-28.
Many of today’s tax and spending decisions apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As a result of decisions that do not apply UK-wide, the Scottish Government will receive around an additional £1.5 billion over 2023-24 and 2024-25, the Welsh Government will receive £1.2 billion and the Northern Ireland Executive will receive £650 million.