Worcester and Malvern's MP react to Chancellor's Autumn Statement - The Worcester Observer

Worcester and Malvern's MP react to Chancellor's Autumn Statement

Worcester Editorial 24th Nov, 2022   0

COUNCIL tax rises of up to five per cent could be on the cards after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt lifted the limit on how much councils could increase the bill locally.

Mr Hunt revealed tax rises and spending cuts worth billions of pounds aimed at mending the nation’s finances in the House of Commons on Thursday (November 17)

He has also warned families face ‘real challenges’, as Government forecasters predict the biggest drop in living standards since records began.

While it’s unclear whether council chiefs Worcester or Malvern Hills will go for a five per cent hike, the Office for Budget Responsibility says household income will fall by seven per cent over the next 18 months.

The Chancellor said tax rises and a spending squeeze would help tame inflation which he said had caused the drop.

Speaking after the statement, Worcester’s MP Robin Walker said Mr Hunt’s statement was a ‘sensible balance in difficult circumstances’.

He welcomed the extra £11billion for the NHS and schools, the triple lock on pensions and the commitment to increase benefits in line with inflation.

“High inflation and a pending recession have led to immense pressure on the country’s finances but I am glad the plan included some of the measures I called for to protect people, public services and businesses in Worcester,” Mr Walker said.

“Having long called for reform of business rates and measures to help the high street, I was glad to see these included and I am hopeful this will help to sustain employment as we strive to become a higher wage economy.”

“I made clear in the run up to the statement that protecting the triple lock on pensions was necessary as this provides vital financial security to pensioners in my constituency.

“The largest ever increase in the National Living Wage will provide an extra £1,600 a year for full time workers.

“In addition, an extra £2.3billion for schools and £8billion for the NHS will ensure our frontline public services can continue to improve. I am looking forward in my new role as Chairman of the

Education Select Committee to making sure this money is spent fairly and effectively.”

Meanwhile Malvern’s MP and newly-elected chair of Parliament’s influential Treasury Select Committee Harriett Baldwin said: “The weaponisation of energy by the tyrannical Putin continues to have a huge impact on our economy but I know my constituents will welcome the measures announced by the Chancellor which will help people to manage their own budgets better through next year.

“I was particularly pleased to hear the Government’s continued manifesto commitment to the pension triple lock which was very important to many of my constituents.

“The increase in health and education spending will be good for our public services in Worcestershire and as chair of the Treasury Select Committee I look forward to scrutinising the plans in more detail over the coming days and weeks.”

THE AUTUMN Statement at a glance and what it means for you:

* Legally-enforceable minimum wage for people aged over 23 to increase from £9.50 to £10.42 an hour from next April

* State pension payments and means-tested and disability benefits to increase by 10.1 per cent, in line with inflation

* Income tax personal allowance and higher rate thresholds frozen for further two years, until April 2028

* Main National Insurance and inheritance tax thresholds also frozen for further two years, until April 2028

* Local councils in England will be able to hike council tax up to five per cent a year without a local vote, instead of three per cent currently

* Household energy price cap extended for one year beyond April but made less generous, with typical bills capped at £3,000 a year instead of £2,500

* Households on means-tested benefits will get £900 support payments next year

* £300 payments to pensioner households, and £150 for individuals on disability benefit

* Windfall tax on profits of oil and gas firms increased from 25 per cent to 35 per cent and extended until March 2028

* New 45 per cent tax on companies that generate electricity, to apply from January

* Unemployment expected to rise from 3.6 per cent to 4.9 per cent in 2024

* Support worth £13.6billion over next five years to help firms with business rates, including a mixture of freezes and reliefs

* Lifetime cap on social care costs in England due in October 2023 delayed by two years

* Social housing rent increases in England capped at seven per cent from next April – instead of 11 per cent due to inflation

* Electric cars, vans and motorcycles to pay road taxes from April 2025


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