Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

Jeremy Hunt says next two years will be ‘challenging’

Welcome to the political blog. Jeremy Hunt made the morning media rounds to defend his autumn statement and warned that the next two years will be challenging.

The UK Chancellor appeared on Sky News a day after announcing that millions of people would pay more taxes and £30bn of spending cuts.

The chancellor said his plans would help to “even out” the economy, but added: “Over the next two years it will be challenging. But I think people want a government that makes tough decisions, has a plan to reduce inflation, stop those big rising prices for energy bills and weekly shopping, while at the same time taking measures to overcome this difficult period.”

We bring you the latest news and reactions to the autumn statement. Here’s what’s in store today:

9 in the morning: The Resolution Foundation will publish its opinion on Hunt’s measures.

10.30 am: The Institute for Fiscal Studies will present its findings.

13 hours: The Institute of Government is having an autumn event featuring OBR’s Richard Hughes.

Key events

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Hunt defends welfare delay

Jeremy Hunt said it was “not easy” for him to delay the welfare cuts, which he insisted he “passionately did not want to do”.

The decision to delay the cap until October 2025 was criticized by the economist behind the plan. Sir Andrew Dilnot, who has advised several Conservative governments on fixing the care sector, said he was “stunned, confused and deeply disappointed”.

He added that the government has now broken its 2019 manifesto promise to “fix welfare” and implement the changes that were finalized a year ago. They included an increase in the amount of assets a person can have before receiving state welfare funding from £23,250 to £100,000, as well as a cap on lifetime care costs to £86,000.

This morning, Hunt told BBC Breakfast: “I’m not pretending that this was easy for me to do given what I said in 2013, but it means that we can increase social care overall more than it has ever been in our history.

“Some of these decisions are very difficult for me as chancellor. I’m a Conservative chancellor who raised taxes, I had to delay those Dilnot welfare reforms, which is something I ardently did not want to do.

“But I’m doing it because we’re facing an international economic crisis and I understand that people are worried about the future and I’m willing to do hard things even if they’re things that I personally wouldn’t choose to do because they’re the right thing for the country.”

The shadow chancellor was also out this morning to set out Labour’s alternative to the Tories’ budget plans.

Rachel Reeves told BBC Breakfast Labor would tax them “better to pay more to ease the pressure on ordinary people”.

PA Media reports her quotes:

The most important thing is to develop the economy because it is the way to raise the standard of living for everyone.

“And what we saw in the numbers yesterday is that living standards will fall by the largest amount in more than 70 years.

“The International Monetary Fund predicts that the UK will have the slowest growth over the next few years of all the major industrialized economies because there is no serious plan from this government for growth and I think that’s the big difference between Labor and the Conservatives.”

Resolution Foundation: UK workers will not get £15,000 worth of pay rise

Mark Sweney

Mark Sweney

Jeremy Hunt’s autumn announcement will mean British workers will miss out on £15,000 worth of pay rises over the next five years as the chancellor’s tax budget puts pressure on the nation’s “squeezed middle”.

Figures released alongside Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement on Thursday by the Office for Budget Responsibility say the UK is in a recession that will wipe out eight years of growth, with British households facing the biggest drop in living standards on record.

Thinktank Resolution Foundation said on Friday that the poor economic outlook means that real wages are now not expected to return to 2008 levels until 2027.

If wages had continued to rise at their pre-crisis peak, workers would be on £292 a week or £15,000 a year over the next five years.

You can read the whole story here:

Jonathan Yerushalmy

Jonathan Yerushalmy

Reactions to Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement are dominating UK headlines on Friday – and my colleague Jonathan Yerushalmy takes a look.

The Starateljeva goes with “From Bad to Worse” and reports that the Chancellor’s £30bn of delayed spending cuts and £25bn of tax hikes have “laid bare the dire economic situation in the country”.

The I splashes with “the UK’s lost decade” and what the paper calls “the biggest drop in living standards on record … sending UK earnings back to 2013”.

The report says that the country is paying the price for “Putin’s war in Ukraine, the pandemic, the politics of Brexit and the damage to market confidence caused by Liz Truss”.

Usually reliably sympathetic to the Tory party Daily post turns his anger on Hunt’s budget with the headline “Tories drench thugs”.

The paper’s political editor reports that the overall tax burden will be pushed to “the highest level since the Second World War”, “with the highest earners hit the hardest”.

The verdict of the newspaper’s chief columnist, Sarah Vine, was published on the front page: “And I thought we voted for the Conservatives!”

The Telegraph, he is also blunt in his assessment, quoting one economist in his headline: “’The rhetoric of Osborne … with the politics of Brown’”.

The paper’s lead story said Britain’s welfare bill would rise by almost “£90bn after Jeremy Hunt protected benefit claimants and pensioners from soaring inflation by attacking workers”.

Tory and former Brexit negotiator David Frost writes in a front-page opinion piece that “the ship is steady – but we’re all left with less of our own money”.

The Mirror the title simply reads “Slaughter”. The paper quoted shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves as saying “all the country got today was an invoice for the economic carnage the government has created”.

Tomorrow’s newspaper Today:
💥 SLAUGHTER
🔴Millions will feel deep pain after the Tories’ budget from hell
🔴Energy bills and unemployment are rising, house prices are falling
🔴The decline in living standards is the worst since 1956
🔴Hunt and Sunak hail moves and avoid any blame#TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/UoQ2RWmC3c

— Mirror (@DailyMirror) November 17, 2022

The times it says that as the chancellor tries to balance the books, there will be “years of tax pain”.

The Financial Times is similarly headlined with “Hunt paves way for years of pain”, quoting the chancellor as saying: “We must give the world confidence in our ability to pay our debts.”

Scotland Daily record returns to another era of Tory rule with the headline “You never had it so bad”, as well as Metro.

The Record says that after 12 years of Conservative rule, the UK is facing “the biggest drop in living standards ever”, as well as “rising unemployment and a year-long recession”.

The Express however, he can find something new in all of this. Switching to a full-page picture of Hunt, the paper claimed “victory” in its campaign to secure a 10.1% rise in the state pension, saying it would “help millions cope with the cost of living crisis”.

Jeremy Hunt says next two years will be ‘challenging’

Welcome to the political blog. Jeremy Hunt made the morning media rounds to defend his autumn statement and warned that the next two years will be challenging.

The UK Chancellor appeared on Sky News a day after announcing that millions of people would pay more taxes and £30bn of spending cuts.

The chancellor said his plans would help to “even out” the economy, but added: “Over the next two years it will be challenging. But I think people want a government that makes tough decisions, has a plan to reduce inflation, stop those big rising prices for energy bills and weekly shopping, while at the same time taking measures to overcome this difficult period.”

We bring you the latest news and reactions to the autumn statement. Here’s what’s in store today:

9 in the morning: The Resolution Foundation will publish its opinion on Hunt’s measures.

10.30 am: The Institute for Fiscal Studies will present its findings.

13 hours: The Institute of Government is having an autumn event featuring OBR’s Richard Hughes.