The Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt make his 2023 Budget speech at 12.30 today. Live highlights of his speech will follow here. Further details will be published by the government online via HMRC and Treasury channels following the speech. 

The Office of Budget Responsibilities (OBR) no longer forecasts a recession.

Growth: aims to remove business investment obstacles, enhance R & D

  • The Treasury has already pre-announced that the Energy Price Guarantee will remain at £2,500 a year for a typical household until the end of June.
  • Pre-payment meters charges will be brought in line with standard direct debit.
  • Fund to keep leisure centres afloat:  £40m will go towards making pools more energy efficient in the long term, with £20m to help leisure centres deal with rising costs.
  • More funding for charities
  • Pubs: from 1 August draft beer will carry a 8% discount compared to supermarket retail sales
  • Fuel duty: no increase, fuel duty is frozen and the 5p cut remains

Debt reduction

  • Government debt is still around 94% of gross domestic product, aims to fall by 3% over the next four years.
  • Public sector borrowing down
  • New measures to tackly promotors of tax avoidance scheme

Growth is the focus of today's budget.

  • OBR suggests that the UK economy will now keep growing, and the unemployment rate is unlikely to increase.
  • Ukraine: have already announced extra funding for the Ministry of Defence, today confirms an extra 11% in funding.
  • Military funding will aim to rise to 2.1% of GDP
  • Companies still struggle to recruit, when they do, output per employee is low

Levelling up

  • Levelling up: 12 new Canary Wharf and Liverpool Docks style enterprise zones, including one in each of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. These will attract all the usual forms of tax relief.
  • Regeneration schemes for certain town centres and authorities
  • New levelling up partnerships in certain places
  • New transport funding and measures to help combat the 'curse of potholes'
  • More funding for the Edinburgh festival, and other funding for events in Northern Ireland and Wales
  • Will consult on giving local leaders more help in running local administrations, and retaining business rates.

Aim to lower business taxes:

  • Even after this April's Corporation Tax rate we have the lowest rates across Europe.
  • Larger business have the Super Deduction (which is due to end in April) and small business have the Annual Investment Allowance
  • A new policy on full Capital Allowance expensing, meaning that all capital expenditure can be deducted against taxable profits. OBR suggests that this will increase business investment by at least 3% per year.
  • Research & Expenditure (R & D) for any small company spending more than 40% of its expenditure on R & D will receive a full deduction for tax.
  • Creative industries tax relief: 34% for high end TV etc and 39% for animation and childrens' TV
  • Extend Theatre relief for another 2 years

Environmental

  • £20b support for carbon capture  
  • Subject to consultation, Nuclear Power will be classed as 'Environmentally Sustainable' which will allow it to receive more public-private funding.

The announcement of 'Great British Nuclear' and a competition for small modular reactors

Deregulation:

  • Medicines: we will reform the regulations around medicines and medicine technology, from 2024 a new approval and automatic sign off process for companies seeking rapid market access.
  • Artificial Intelligence: government to launch a new AI sandbox, reform UK patents process, commit £900k of funding for an exoscale computer, and will publish a quantim strategy.
    • Launch of a new national AI prize: the Manchester Prize. 

Takcling workplace labour supply-side problems:

  • A whitepaper on disability benefit reform will separate benefit from work
  • Will fund a new program for universal support for disabled workers, with schemes aimed at those with mental health and physical health problems.
  • Stricter sanctions for those who try to avoid work

Over 50s, 'experienced workers' some 3.5million people are no longer part of the labour force. 

Three steps to make it easier to work longer:

  • Increase DWP's mid-life MOT strategy 
  • Introduce a new over 50's 'returnership' (like an apprenticeship)
  • Do not want any doctor to retire early due to loss of pension benefits: increase the annual contributions limit, currently capped at £40,000 per year, to £60,000 per year and abolish the Lifetime allowance (which has been frozen at £1,073,100 until 2026-2027)

Education

Childcare reform

  • £600 sign up 'carrot' for childcare workers
  • Increase OWLs funding for nurseries, and change minimum child to staff ratios 
  • Increase by almost 50% childcare funding for parents on Universal Credit: families will now be able to claim £951 for 1 child & £1,630 for 2 children.
  • Increase supply of wrap-around care
  • New 30 hour free childcare offer for working parents for children 9 months to 4 years to be introduced in stages from 2024 to 2025

  


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