Tax cuts amid 110 measures to boost growth

By Ged Henderson

22 Nov 2023

Parliament

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a series of tax cuts and moves to increase business productivity and investment in an autumn statement that included 110 measures to “promote growth”.

The raft of announcements included support for the self-employed and small businesses and measures to encourage more investment in sectors that will deliver that growth.

The chancellor declared that the statement delivered “the biggest business tax cut in modern British history” and it would return tens of thousands more people into work.

And he said it was an “autumn statement for a country that has turned a corner. An autumn statement for growth.”

Mr Hunt announced that he was cutting the main rate for employee national insurance from 12 per cent to 10 per cent from January.

The chancellor said 27 million people will benefit from that move and the reduction will be worth £450 a year or someone on an average salary.

He also announced tax cuts for the self-employed worth £350 per year. They include abolishing class 2 national insurance, saving them £192 annually.

Mr Hunt said nearly two million self-employed people will benefit and he also delivered a reduction in class 4 national insurance that they pay. It will go down from nine per cent to eight per cent.

There were also measures to help small business, include the extension of the 75 per business rates discount for hospitality, retail and leisure for another year.

Business rate relief was also extended with a freeze on the small business multiplier for another year.

Measures to boost investment in “strategic manufacturing” were also included in the statement.

Mr Hunt committed £4.5bn to manufacturing up to 2030, with £975m for aerospace and £960m for the green sector.

He told the Commons: “Taken together across our fastest-growing innovation sectors, this support for manufacturing alone will attract an estimated £2bn of additional investment a year over the next decade.”

There will also be £50m in funding over the next two years to increase the number of apprentices in engineering and “other key growth sectors”.

Mr Hunt also announced a widely predicted decision to make permanent “full expensing” for businesses. That measure means that for every £1 that a business invests in IT, machinery and equipment, it can claim back 25p in corporation tax.

He declared the move as “the largest business tax cut in modern British history”.

The chancellor also committed to reforming the planning system to allow for faster planning applications when it comes to major business projects.

And the government will invest £500m over the next two years to fund more "innovation centres" to help make the UK an "AI powerhouse".

Mr Hunt will also consult on giving pension savers a “legal right to require a new employer to pay pension contributions into their existing pension”.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said that under the Conservatives growth had “hit a dead end” and the economy would be £40bn smaller by 2027 than it had claimed in March.

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