Jeremy Hunt’s £450 Christmas boost for millions: Chancellor’s tax giveaway to ‘grow Britain’

22 November 2023, 13:21 | Updated: 22 November 2023, 17:10

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivers the Autumn Statement
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivers the Autumn Statement. Picture: LBC/Alamy

By Asher McShane

Jeremy Hunt has delivered long-awaited tax cuts to help hard pressed Brits through the cost of living crisis and ‘get Britain growing’.

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The Chancellor hopes to revive Tory fortunes ahead of a looming General Election by pledging 110 measures to help the economy, including a cut to National Insurance.

He slashed National Insurance by two percentage points from January, saving workers on a salary of £35,000 £450.

The Chancellor said: “If we want people to get up early in the morning, if we want people to work nights, if we want an economy where people go the extra mile and work hard then we need to recognise that their hard work benefits all of us. 

“So today, Mr Speaker, I am going to cut the main 12% rate of employee National Insurance. “If I cut it by 1 percentage point to 11%, that would be an extra £225 in the pockets of the average worker every year.

Jeremy Hunt announced major tax cuts today
Jeremy Hunt announced major tax cuts today. Picture: LBC

"But instead, I’m going to go further and cut the main rate of Employee National insurance by 2 percentage points from 12% to 10%. This change will help 27 million people.”

But Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said that people in work are "worse off" despite Mr Hunt's announcements.  She added that the British public "will not be taken for fools".

The UK has become "world-following, not world-beating" under the Tories, she said.

Mr Hunt also said he is scrapping Class 2 National Insurance, paid by many self-employed workers, which would save the average self-employed person £192 per year.

He further announced self-employed people who pay "Class 4" National Insurance at 9% on all earnings between £12,570 and £50,270 will see that cut by 1 percentage point to 8% from April.

For pensioners, he announced the triple lock will stay, meaning an 8.5 per cent rise in the state pension.

Autumn Statement LIVE: Chancellor's 110-point plan unveiled including boosts for workers, businesses and pensioners

Benefits will also increase by 6.7% and duties on beer, wine and spirits in pubs and bars are being frozen - and bars will have their 75% business rates holiday extended.

Mr Hunt said the country needs a “more productive state not a bigger state” and said that the UK economy is set to grow by 0.6% in the current year, according to forecasts from the OBR.

Mr Hunt told MPs: “After a global pandemic and energy crisis, we have taken difficult decisions to put our economy back on track.”

A Downing Street spokesman added: "The Chancellor said that his statement was one that backs business and rewards workers to get Britain growing."

Follow the latest Autumn Statement news on Global Player, the official LBC app

The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will unveil his Autumn Budget today
The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will unveil his Autumn Budget today. Picture: Getty

The Government has already announced an increase in the national living wage, up from £10.42 to £11.44 from April, with the policy also extended to cover workers aged 21 and over, rather than 23 and over.

Read More: PM teases 'careful' tax cuts ahead of this week's Autumn Statement but says there are no 'fairytale' answers on economy

Read More: Autumn Budget tax cuts would be 'politically risky' for Tories, top economist tells LBC

It will mean a £1,800 annual pay rise next year for a full-time worker on the living wage, while 18 to 20-year-olds will receive a £1.11 hourly rise to £8.60.

Treasury Chief Secretary Ms Trott had already indicated that workers could be in line for a tax cut. She said that the Government would focus on "cutting taxes for individuals".

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak. Picture: Getty

The Government's approach to cutting taxes is expected to be coupled with a bid to get people off benefits and into work.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak plans to launch a 'work from home' drive in a bid to get sick Brits off benefits and into a job.

Under the plans, which will be launched as part of a series of measures in Wednesday's Autumn Statement, hundreds of thousands of disabled Brits will be told to look for jobs they can do from home.

That includes Brits with mobility and mental health problems.If not, they could have their benefits reduced by nearly £4,700 a year. It will apply to all new benefit claimants from 2025.

Meanwhile, existing claimants will reportedly be given assurances that their right to benefits will not be re-assessed if they look for a job they can do from home.

'Is he making excuses or promises - which is the PM better at?': Nick Ferrari challenges Chief Secretary to the Treasury Laura Trott

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Laura Trott claimed Rishi Sunak is making progress on all five of his pledges.

When it was put to her that the Prime Minister has failed to deliver on most of the promises he made at the start of the year, Ms Trott told Nick: "I would refute that."

She said halving inflation was "a really important delivery", that "over the course of the year we have seen growth", and that small boat crossings "are down significantly".

"They were not easy targets, but they are ones where we have made progress on every single one," she said.