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Autumn Statement from the Chancellor of Exchequer
22 November 2023

A round-up of todays’ Autumn Budget from Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, from Managing Partner Tony Bullock...

The Chancellor sought to present a more upbeat assessment of the economy even than comparatively recent statements allowed, perhaps with the forthcoming election in mind. Included were some rather unexpected taxation changes, however, most major tax thresholds remain unchanged (resulting in some significant 'fiscal drag') and the heavy lift remains economic expansion for increased prosperity, albeit recognising some eye-catching measures outlined in the statement.

There were 110 measures aimed at boosting economic growth and a theme of ‘Make Work Pay' behind some personal taxation measures.

The main business measures included…

  • 75% of business rates discount for retail/hospitality/leisure extended for another year.
  • Full expensing tax breaks on new machinery and equipment from profits made permanent.
  • Finance incentives for investment zones and tax relief for Freeports extended from 5 years to 10 years.
  • New investment zones.
  • Funding for £4.5 billion to attract investment in green energy/aerospace/life science/zero emission vehicles.
  • UK growth forecasts downgraded to 0.6% this year - 0.7% next year - 1.4% in 2025 - 1.9% in 2026 - 2% in 2027 and 1.7% in 2028.
  • Target rate of inflation set to 2.8% by end of 2024.
  • Underlying debt forecast to be 91.6%/92.7%/93.2%/92.8% respectively between 2024 and 2029.
  • Borrowing forecast to be 4.5% of GDP in 23/24 then: 3.0%/2.7%/2.3%/1.6%/1.1% respectively between 2024 to 2029.
  • Duty on beer/cider/wine/spirits frozen until August 2024.

The main personal tax changes include...

  • National Insurance rate cut by 2% on earnings from £12,572-£50268 from 6th Jan.
  • Self-employed Class 2 contributions abolished.
  • Class 4 contributions on all earnings between £12570 and £50270 reduced from 9% to 8%.
  • National Living Wage for over 23’s rise from £10.42 to £11.44 per hour.
  • Most benefits to rise 6.7% and pensions will rise 8.5%.

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