Autumn statement 2022 live: Jeremy Hunt to unveil UK budget plans as Labour says ‘12 years of Tory economic failure’ holding UK back
Good morning. They are still not calling it a budget, but today’s autumn statement will be the second colossal “fiscal event” of the autumn, much bigger than a usual budget, or arguably the third. The first was Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget. Then there was Jeremy Hunt’s announcement in his first full day as chancellor abandoning almost all the measures in the mini-budget – the biggest government U-turn in the modern era. And today Hunt, now working for a new prime minister, will set out a fiscal strategy that entirely reverses the Kwarteng/Liz Truss one.
Kwarteng announced tax cuts worth £45bn. Hunt is expecting to announce tax rises worth £24bn, plus spending cuts worth around £30bn.
The autumn statement won’t just be a repudiation of the short-lived and disastrous Truss premiership. In some respects Hunt will undoing policies that the Conservatives have championed for much of their last 12 years in office. David Cameron and George Osborne kept increasing the personal tax allowance, so they could remove more and more people from having to pay tax in the first place. Today Hunt is going to extend the period for which allowances are frozen, using this as a stealth tax, and dragging more people into paying tax. Osborne cut corporation tax significantly. Now it is shooting up again.
But, in other respects, the autumn statement will feel like a return to 2010. Cameron and Osborne claimed the UK needed austerity to balance the books. This is being dubbed austerity 2.0.
In a statement released overnight, the Treasury says “balancing the books is key to economic stability”. Hunt says the UK is facing “into the storm”. He says:
There is a global energy crisis, a global inflation crisis and a global economic crisis. But the British people are tough, inventive, and resourceful. We have risen to bigger challenges before. We aren’t immune to these global headwinds, but with this plan for stability, growth and public services - we will face into the storm.
But in her overnight statementbefore the announcement, Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, says the country is being held back by “12 years of Tory economic failure”. She says:
Britain has so much potential but we are falling behind on the global stage, while mortgages, food and energy costs all go up and up. The country is being held back by 12 years of Tory economic failure and wasted opportunities and working people are paying the price. What Britain needs in the autumn statement today are fairer choices for working people, and a proper plan for growth.
Here is the agenda for the day.
8.30am: Rishi Sunak chairs cabinet, where Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, will outline the contents of his autumn statement.
10.30am: Sunak makes a statement to MPs about the G20 summit.
My colleague Graeme Wearden will be joining the blog later to help me cover the statement and provide analysis and reaction afterwards.
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