Hunt’s Autumn Statement 2023, full of missed opportunities?

UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivered the Autumn Statement 2023 on Wednesday in the House of Commons, which I believe is lukewarm and insufficient to shift the Conservatives’ political narrative.

This was Hunt’s key opportunity outside of the Budget to unveil tax and spending announcements, and considering Labour are 20 points in front in the polls, it was one of the last chances for the government to change the narrative for the Tories before the general election.

The positives

Of course, although some of the measures should be championed, as a whole, the Statement was somewhat half-hearted.

Some of the positives include:

110 reforms to ‘help grow the economy’.

A 2% national insurance cut from January 2024. This, according to Hunt, will affect 28 million people, saving someone on an average salary £450.

The pensions Triple Lock is being maintained, with an increase in April 2024 of 8.5%. As a result taking the State Pension to £221.20 per week, equating to just over £11,500 annually

Plans for 12 investment zones

The National Living Wage will increase from £10.42 per hour to £11.44 from April 2024

The small business rates relief and the freeze on the small business multiplier have been extended for another year.

Removal of the Lifetime Allowance. The measure will clarify the taxation of lump sums and lump sum death benefits and the application of protections. Also the tax treatment for overseas pensions, transitional arrangements, and reporting requirements, due to take effect in April 2024.

Are these measures enough?

However, and as I was quoted by London Loves Business and The Fintech Times, amongst other media, these measures will unlikely significantly improve the financial situation of many households across the country and, as such, will do little to move the political needle for the government.

With confirmation from the Office for Budget Responsibility that there has been a turnaround in the Treasury’s coffers. As government borrowing falls and tax income rises, the Chancellor missed a golden opportunity to do a lot more to help families and businesses.

Yet, in contrast, there were no substantial changes to income tax, no modifications in bands, corporation tax or inheritance tax.

There was an overall sense that the government is highlighting that personal finances are people’s own responsibility, incentivising work and amid attempts to return money to individuals’ pockets. Indeed, Jeremy Hunt said he is making the largest set of welfare reforms in 10 years, aiming to get an additional 200,000 people into work.

Consequently, this underscores how working with a financial advisor is likely to be beneficial.

Financial Advisors and how they can help

Acknowledging that personal finances are a personal responsibility underscores financial independence and resilience. Consequently, working with an independent financial advisor instils confidence and discipline in financial management. This, therefore, makes personal finances go from an unnerving task to a joint effort, equipping individuals to safeguard their financial future with informed choices and strategic planning.

Whilst the 2022 Autumn Statement focused on saving Britain from economic meltdown after the catastrophic Truss-Kwarteng mini-budget, this year, the onus was on the politics ahead of the general election.

And I believe the Chancellor missed a chance to deliver a lot more.

Read my previous blog post here

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