Budget 2023: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to present “back to work” package as part of growth spurt


hancellor Jeremy Hunt will pledge to tackle labor shortages and get people back to work when he presents his budget on Wednesday.

Announcements supporting energy bills, benefit reforms and pension supplements are expected to be part of the budget package when Mr Hunt addresses MPs on Wednesday afternoon.

A billion-dollar expansion to include 30 hours of free childcare for one- and two-year-olds is reportedly to be announced.

Mr Hunt is expected to refer to the “difficult decisions” made last November to stabilize markets after Liz Truss’ short-lived tenure, while proposing a plan the Government hopes will ” “sustainable” growth can deliver.

Lower-than-expected borrowing numbers and a recent drop in wholesale energy prices have given the Treasury some good news on public finances, but the Chancellor is likely to still tread carefully and avoid any spending avoidance.

The chancellor is expected to resist calls from conservative backbenchers for more tax cuts.

“Today we are delivering the next part of our plan: a budget for growth,” he is expected to say.

“Not just growth out of a downturn.

“But long-term, sustainable, healthy growth that will fund our NHS and our schools, find good jobs for young people, provide a safety net for the elderly… while also making our country one of the most prosperous in the world.”

Sluggish growth in the UK has dominated the political and economic debate in recent months, while the challenge of inflation and widespread industrial action over public sector wages have not gone away.

But Mr Hunt will promise a growth plan that will “remove the barriers that are preventing companies from investing” while “addressing the labor shortages that are preventing them from hiring” and “breaking down the barriers that keep people from doing so”. stop working”.

Zara Farrar / HM Treasury

At the heart of this plan is a range of measures aimed at getting the over-50s, the long-term ill and disabled and benefit recipients back to work, with the Chancellor specifically announcing the abolition of the current system to assess entitlement to sickness benefit, Parents to pay childcare allowance in advance and increase the amount they can claim by several hundred pounds.

Changes to pensions are also expected to be announced, with the chancellor likely to allow workers to put more money into their pension pot before being taxed by removing the lifetime pension supplement.

A £4billion childcare expansion is also reportedly to be unveiled to encourage parents to return to work.

The plan, first reported by The Guardian, is believed to include 30 hours of childcare per week for parents in England with children aged one and two.

Families with one- and two-year-old children currently receive no support for the time after the end of parental leave and until three- and four-year-olds are offered free crèche hours.

The cash injection could also be used to increase the current childcare program for three-year-olds.

The move would come amid ongoing concerns about the cost of childcare, amid broader cost-of-living challenges and inflationary pressures.

While full details of an expansion would be revealed in Wednesday’s budget, such a move would align with the chancellor’s hopes of bringing more people back into the workplace as part of a broader bid to spur growth.

When asked about the issue of childcare at weekends, Mr Hunt said: “We want to help everyone. It’s expensive to do. You can’t always do everything at once.”

Many households will also eagerly await a decision on government support for energy bills, with Mr Hunt widely expected to cancel the proposed £500 increase in average energy bills that was due to come into effect next month, in a move that Bills for the average household remain around £2,500 rather than rising to £3,000.

Jeremy Hunt will present his first budget since becoming Chancellor (Lewis Whyld/PA)

/ PA Archive

Action on prepayment meters is also expected, as the Chancellor will use the budget to scrap the so-called “prepayment premium” from July.

The Chancellor will also echo some of the words of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, promising to “use British ingenuity to transform us into a science and technology superpower” while charting a roadmap for the country’s economic future.

But Labor has said Mr Hunt’s budget speech is an opportunity for the government to show “real ambition” after years of “controlled decline”.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “This budget is an opportunity for the government to steer us away from its path of controlled decline.

“It’s a chance for them to see the tremendous promise and potential of the UK and let us grow again.”

Ms Reeves, addressing the budget, said: “After 13 years of economic mismanagement and pavement policies that have left us behind, we need to see real ambition from the Government on Wednesday.

“Labor is focused on our mission to secure the highest growth in the G7. Our plan will help us get back on top by creating good jobs and productivity growth in every part of our country so that everyone, not just a select few, feels better.”

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/budget-2023-jeremy-hunt-back-to-work-budget-push-for-growth-childcare-pensions-b1067318.html Budget 2023: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to present “back to work” package as part of growth spurt


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