Suffering of innocent civilians in Gaza ‘must end’ says Sunak as he urges pause for humanitarian aid
The government can only afford “a tiny tax cut here or a tiny cut there,” a respected economic think tank has said ahead of Wednesday’s statement.
Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank, said any tax cuts would have to be followed by “incredibly tight spending plans”.
His comments came after prime minister Rishi Sunak delivered a speech earlier on Monday in which he suggested taxes would be cut on Wednesday.
Mr Sunak also claimed handing over the UK economy to Labour would be “just as dangerous” as Liz Truss’s stewardship of the economy.
He claimed Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves wanted to continue the “big government, big spending approach” of the Covid pandemic, pointing to the opposition’s £28bn green business plan.
“This makes the same economic mistake as last year’s mini-budget – blowing tens of billions of pounds on unfunded spending is just as dangerous as blowing tens of billions of pounds on unfunded tax cuts.”
Hunt promise business investment boost – and porridge for breakfast
Jeremy Hunt said his autumn statement on Wednesday would include a package of measures to boost business investment, Adam Forrest reports.
The chancellor told the CBI conference that the UK’s productivity was 15 per cent lower than Germany’s, partly due to skills training, but also because of a lack of capital investment.
He promised “a whole range of measures designed to unlock business investment and close that gap”.
The chancellor gave nothing away of tax cuts, saying only that the government was now “focused on growth” after halving inflation.
Mr Hunt also he will have porridge with banana and honey, followed by egg on toast, the day of the autumn statement (as he does on all big days).
Alexander Butler20 November 2023 18:17
What will Jeremy Hunt unveil in the Autumn Statement?
Matt Mathers20 November 2023 16:07
Tory moderate warns Sunak against radical Rwanda plan B
Stephen Hammond, deputy chair of the One Nation group of Tory moderates, has warned Rishi Sunak against trying to get around human rights law with his Rwanda deportation plan B, Adam Forrest reports.
The PM is said to be mulling a “semi-skimmed” option, which would try to disapply the UK Human Rights Act (HRA) in asylum claims, and a “full-fat” option of using “notwithstanding clauses” to ignore the HRA and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in a way that is legal.
“Leaving the ECHR would be a red line for the One Nation [MPs] – the idea we would find ourselves in a group with Russia is beyond incredible,” Mr Hammond told The Independent.
“I’m very wary of trying to disapply treaties we’ve signed up to,” he said. “On [trying to disapply] the ECHR and the HRA, I’d be very cautious. It’s a view among large numbers of colleagues in the One Nation group.”
He added: “One of the things that has been most successful is the treaties like the one with Albania, we need to have more of those, so people arriving on boats can be sent back.”
Matt Mathers20 November 2023 15:39
Inheritance tax hits middle-class and should be scrapped, says senior Tory MP
Tory MP David Jones, deputy chair of the European Research Group, urged Jeremy Hunt to focus on slashing inheritance tax and corporation tax, Adam Forrest reports.
“He needs to stimulate growth – cutting corporation tax would be a good way of doing that – it’s been up and down like a yo-yo,” he told The Independent.
“Inheritance tax disproportionately impacts the middle class – it’s bitterly resented,” Mr Jones added. “It would be a strong signal that we were returning to Conservative principles if it were completely abolished.”
Matt Mathers20 November 2023 15:20
Cutting income tax cut better than national insurance, says Tory MP
Senior Tory John Redwood – a leading right-wing advocate for tax cuts – has backed the idea of reducing income tax, amid speculation Jeremy Hunt is more likely to slash national insurance, Adam Forrest reports.
“I would rather have the income tax [cut] than the national insurance option,” Mr Redwood told The Independent. “People resent it [income tax] more, people recognise it more, and if you’re trying to get confidence up you ought to do something people feel good about.”
“Any tax cut is better than none,” he added. The former minister is pushing for energy tax cuts – including in VAT on domestic bills and carbon taxes paid by business – at the autumn statement.
Matt Mathers20 November 2023 15:15
Call me Lord: David Cameron officially evelated to upper chamber
David Cameron was elevated to the House of Lords this afternoon in an official introductory ceremony.
The former prime minister, who insisted on being called ‘Dave’, according to an unofficial biography, is now Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton, reflecting his long-held ties to the well-helled Cotswolds town in his former constituency, Whitney.
Lord Cameron was elevated to parliament’s upper chamber last week so that he take up the role of foreign secretary.
David Cameron becomes Lord of Chipping Norton
Matt Mathers20 November 2023 14:56
Labour and Lib Dems ridicule five new pledges from Sunak
Responding to Rishi Sunak’s five new long-term economic pledges, Pat McFadden, Labour’s national campaign coordinator said: “The Tories have failed to deliver on so many pledges from the past.
“Why should people believe they will deliver on pledges for the future?” asked the Labour frontbencher.
He added: “It sums up this Conservative Party to claim things will be better tomorrow when they can’t even fix the problems of today.”
Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey MP said that in failing to mention the NHS in the five new pledges, Mr Sunak “has shown yet again just how out of touch he is”.
Mr Davey added: “Shockingly, the prime minister doesn’t even understand the link between a better health service and a stronger economy.”
Matt Mathers20 November 2023 14:15
Low growth cause of high taxes, shadow business secretary says
The UK has hit the highest tax burden in 70 years because of “low growth”, shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds said.
“We’ve had low growth, that is the fundamental reason for that. I don’t think anyone right now thinks that services in the UK are so generously funded that taxes have risen to meet that need,” he said.
“There is simply no way that any political decision in the next government or the one after that can be anything other than extremely difficult, unless there is a significant step change in the performance of the economy.”
He added he would not speculate on possible tax cuts being announced by the Chancellor in the autumn statement on Wednesday.
Alexander Butler20 November 2023 14:00
Starmer in No 10 would be as dangerous as Liz Truss, says Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak has claimed handing over the economy to Keir Starmer would be “just as dangerous” as having Liz Truss in charge.
Outlining how he planned to cut taxes in a “responsible” way, ahead of Wednesday’s autumn statement, the prime minister claimed Sir Keir and Rachel Reeves wanted to continue the “big spending approach”, pointing to the opposition’s £28bn green business plan.
In an extraordinary attack on his predecessor’s policies, Mr Sunak then said Labour’s approach to spending would put Britain at the same risk as Ms Truss, who was ousted after big tax cuts which triggered an economic collapse.
“This makes the same economic mistake as last year’s mini-budget – blowing tens of billions of pounds on unfunded spending is just as dangerous as blowing tens of billions of pounds on unfunded tax cuts,” Mr Sunak said.
Alexander Butler20 November 2023 13:45
EU didn’t believe Boris Johnson’s ‘madman’ no-deal Brexit bluff
European Union negotiators did not believe Boris Johnson’s bluff that he was prepared to pull the UK out of the bloc with a “no deal” Brexit, Michel Barnier has revealed.
Matt Mathers20 November 2023 13:40