National Insurance, benefits and alcohol: Autumn Statement key points

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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has unveiled the contents of his Autumn Statement in the House of Commons.

It sets out the government’s tax and spending plans for the year ahead, affecting the take-home pay and household budgets of millions of people, as well as setting out how much will be spent on key public services.

Here is a summary of the main measures.

Taxation and wages

Main rate of National Insurance cut from 12% to 10% from 6 January, affecting 27 million people
Class 2 National Insurance – paid by self-employed people earning more than £12,570 – abolished from April
Class 4 National Insurance for self employed – paid on profits between £12,570 and £50,270 – cut from 9% to 8% from April
Legal minimum wage – known officially as the National Living Wage – to increase from £10.42 to £11.44 an hour from April

New rate to apply to 21 and 22-year-old workers for the first time, rather than just those 23 and over

Benefits and pensions

Universal Credit and other working-age benefits to increase by 6.7% from April, in line with September’s inflation rate
Local Housing Allowance rates – which determine the level of housing benefit and Universal Credit people receive to pay rent – to be unfrozen and increased to 30% of local rents
Work Capability Assessment to be reformed to reflect availability of home working after Covid pandemic
Funding of £1.3bn over the next five years to help people with health conditions find jobs
Further £1.3bn to help people who have been unemployed for over a year
Claimants deemed able to work but refuse to seek employment to lose access to their benefits and extras like free prescriptions
State pension payments to increase by 8.5% from April, in line with average earnings

Economy and public finances

The independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) expects the economy to grow by 0.6% this year and 0.7% next year, rising to 1.4% in 2025; then 1.9% in 2026; 2% in 2027 and 1.7% in 2028
It forecasts that headline inflation – the rate prices are rising – will fall to 2.8% by the end of 2024 and to the Bank of England’s 2% target rate in 2025
Underlying debt forecast to be 91.6% of GDP next year; 92.7% in 2024-25; 93.2% in 2026-27; before declining to 92.8% in 2028-29
Borrowing forecast to fall from 4.5% of GDP in 2023-24; to 3% in 2024-25; 2.7% in 2025-26; 2.3% in 2026-27; 1.6% in 2027-28 and 1.1% in 2028-29

Business and infrastructure

“Full expensing” tax break – allowing companies to deduct spending on new machinery and equipment from profits – made permanent
The 75% business rates discount for retail, hospitality and leisure firms extended for another year
Households living close to new pylons and transmission infrastructure to get up to £1,000 a year off energy bills for a decade

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