It’s Budget Day: Chancellor expected to announce at least one tax cut and help for first-time buyers

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A photograph of the Spring Budget 2024 in No 11 Downing Street. Picture by Kirsty O'Connor/HM Treasury

Today (6 March 2024) Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will present plans for the economy, including taxation and spending, in the Budget.

The chancellor’s speech usually starts at about 12:30pm UK time and lasts about an hour.

As Hunt prepares to present his second Budget as chancellor, speculation abounds regarding the government’s fiscal agenda and the potential impact on households and businesses across the country.

Jeremy Hunt is set to announce at least one tax cut in his budget. Help for first-time buyers and child benefit reforms are also said to be on the cards. 

The Budget, a hallmark event in the UK’s political and economic calendar, represents the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s annual statement on the government’s financial plans. It encompasses measures related to taxation, public spending, and key areas such as health, education, and policing.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt prepares for the Spring Budget 2024, in his office at No 11 Downing Street. Picture by Kirsty O’Connor/HM Treasury

Against the backdrop of a challenging economic landscape, Hunt has hinted at forthcoming tax cuts, emphasising the need for fiscal prudence and responsible financial management. While specific details remain undisclosed, reports suggest potential reductions in National Insurance (NI) contributions, aimed at easing the tax burden on millions of workers. Moreover, discussions around income tax adjustments and reforms to childcare benefits underscore the government’s commitment to addressing socio-economic inequalities and supporting working families.

Reports suggest Hunt is going to cut National Insurance for workers by another 2p (it also fell by 2p in last year’s Autumn Statement). This would mean the main rate falling from 10% to 8% – which could save the average worker around £450 a year.

In quotes released over night, Jeremy Hunt did not confirm the move – but he did pledge “permanent cuts” in taxation. He said:

“Of course, interest rates remain high as we bring down inflation.

“But because of the progress we’ve made because we are delivering on the prime minister’s economic priorities we can now help families with permanent cuts in taxation.

“We do this not just to give help where it is needed in challenging times. But because Conservatives know lower tax means higher growth. And higher growth means more opportunity and more prosperity.”

One of the Budget’s focal points is anticipated to be the government’s response to the UK’s economic recovery following the recent, very brief recession. Amidst rising prices and household financial strains, Hunt will aim to stimulate growth and instil confidence in the economy through strategic fiscal interventions. Measures to support key sectors such as hospitality, tourism, and energy may feature prominently, alongside initiatives to promote homeownership and housing affordability.

In addition to economic considerations, the Budget is expected to address environmental and social priorities, reflecting the government’s commitment to sustainable development and inclusive growth. Proposals for a windfall tax on oil and gas companies, measures to curb holiday lettings, and initiatives to promote green technologies align with broader efforts to mitigate climate change and foster responsible stewardship of natural resources.

With the general election looming on the horizon, the 2024 Budget assumes added significance as a reflection of the government’s priorities and vision for the future.

As Hunt unveils his fiscal agenda, the nation awaits eagerly to see how these policies will shape the trajectory of the UK’s economy and society in the years to come.

The chancellor’s speech usually starts at about 12:30pm and lasts about an hour.

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