Reactions to the Autumn Statement

George Osborne leaves No 11 Downing Street before giving his Autumn Statement to MPs
George Osborne leaves No 11 Downing Street before giving his Autumn Statement to MPs
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The Chancellor George Osborne gave his Autumn Statement to MPs in the House of Commons today (Wednesday, December 5).

Some of the key points are:

The 3p-a-litre increase in fuel duty, planned for next January, is cancelled; most working-age benefits to rise by one per cent for each of next three years; from 2014-15 lifetime pension relief allowance to fall from £1.5m to £1.25m - annual allowance cut from £50,000 to £40,000; basic state pension to rise by 2.5 per cent next year to £110.15 a week; child benefit to rise by one per cent for two years from April 2014; basic income tax threshold to be raised by £235 more than previously announced next year, to £9,440; ISA contribution limit to be raised to £11,520 from next April; period of austerity to be extended by another year to 2017/18; local government budgets to be cut by two per cent in 2014.

Newly-elected MP for Corby and East Northants Andy Sawford tweeted to say: “Strongly agree that those who can work should work. But Chancellor’s welfare cuts are really hitting the disabled and children.”

Commenting on the hot topic of the moment, Gary Telford, tax partner at PwC in Milton Keynes, said: “Fairness in the tax system is important and the Chancellor is taking steps to address this in a positive and proactive way, which should be welcomed by all. We need a system that provides a level playing field to all businesses, whilst helping to ensure their global competitiveness.”

“News that the Chancellor is prepared to drive down Corporation Tax further while continuing its agenda of corporate tax reform, is positive news and should help to encourage corporates to stay and invest in Northamptonshire and could even attract newcomers.”

The director general of the CBI, John Cridland, also welcomed the Chancellor’s attempts to tackle tax avoidance and said: “We welcome the extra £77m funding for HM Revenue & Customs to expand their programme to tackle abusive avoidance and evasion, which the CBI has consistently said that is does not condone.

“The vast majority of businesses pay the right amount of tax. Taxation of multinationals is complex and has to be tackled internationally at the OECD, EU and G20 levels, not unilaterally, which would risk damaging the UK’s attractiveness as a place to invest.”