James O’Brien's instant reaction to Autumn Statement

17 November 2022, 14:16 | Updated: 17 November 2022, 15:27

James O'Brien's instant reaction to Jeremy Hunt's Autumn Statement

By Phoebe Dampare Osei

James O'Brien gave his instant reaction to the Autumn Statement, dissecting the pledges made by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt this afternoon.

Major announcements from the Autumn Statement include benefits and pensions going up by 10.1% in line with inflation from next April, an extra £2.3bn to be invested in schools in 2023 and 2024 and more people moving into the highest tax bracket as the threshold reduced from £150,000 to £125,140.

James began by pointing out a “very interesting observation” of the Chancellor saying: “Let me start with a tough lesson for the party opposite. You cannot borrow your way to growth”.

James said: “There is one reason - and one reason only - that Jeremy Hunt is Chancellor of the Exchequer and delivering this budget today.

“That is because 55 days ago, the Conservative Prime Minister and the Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer bet everything on borrowing your way to growth.”

In a cutting observation, he said: “‘You cannot borrow your way to growth’, says the man who is only Chancellor because the last Chancellor from his own party… bet the British economy on the belief that you can.”

James branded the notion “absolutely crackers”.

Read more: James O’Brien delivers a 'masterpiece' analogy explaining right-wing British politics

He then brought in LBC’s Political editor Theo Usherwood who talked about the Energy Price Guarantee brought in under Liz Truss during her short premiership.

James brought up an analogy he and Theo came up with for her repeated references to “helping people with their energy bills” whilst not doing everything possible to help with the rest of the cost of living crisis.

“Don’t worry about how we’re going to pay for the Porsche, I’ve also bought a Lamborghini!” he said.

Theo replied: “It’s more like a Skoda now James, because from next April that protection, the Energy Price Guarantee - an average of £2500 - that’s going to be £3000 for the following 18 months."

“It’s not going to be frozen at £2500 for two years as originally promised”, he added, as James took a sharp intake of breath.

“We now have the highest sustained tax burden since WWII", said Theo. “I use the word sustained because that’s going to take us all the way through to 2027- combining the cuts to public services with of course the fact that we are paying so much in tax.”

He also read out a line from Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves’ response to the Autumn Statement. “Never before have people paid so much tax and got so little in return", he quoted.

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