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Hunt sets March 6 as spring budget date

27 Dec 2023 3 minute read
Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt delivering his autumn statement in the House of Commons. Photo UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Jeremy Hunt has announced a spring budget will be set out on March 6, in what could be his last chance to introduce major tax and spending changes before the next general election.

The Chancellor has commissioned the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to prepare an economic and fiscal forecast to be presented to Parliament alongside the budget next year.


The Tories have been dropping hints they could make attention-grabbing pledges on housing and taxes as Rishi Sunak struggles to turn around his party’s major deficit in the polls.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove suggested to the Times that the Conservatives will promise to cut the up-front cost of a home for first-time buyers in a pre-election giveaway.

And the Prime Minister has ordered a “gear change” to reduce the historically high tax burden, possibly slashing death duties and reducing income tax, according to the Telegraph.

But Downing Street later sought to highlight the funding that inheritance tax is expected to raise for public services that “millions of us rely on”.

Asked on Wednesday whether the PM believes the tax is fair, a No 10 spokeswoman said she would not “enter into speculation” but added: “The tax is forecast to contribute £10 billion a year by 2028-29 to help fund public services that millions of us rely on.”

Both reports emerged as Mr Sunak struggles to turn the tide in favour of his party as Labour sits around 20 points clear in the polls.

The Times said that ministers are considering Government support for longer fixed-term mortgages to reduce the size of deposits for first-time buyers.

A resurrected help-to-buy scheme was also said to be on the table for the spring budget or in the Conservative election manifesto.

Asked by the Times whether the Conservatives would be able to go into next year’s expected election promising more help for first-time buyers, Mr Gove said: “Oh, yes, we must. Definitely.”

Tax cuts

Meanwhile, the Telegraph said senior figures in No 10 were considering a handful of major tax cuts as Mr Sunak comes under continued pressure from Tory MPs.

Downing Street said on Wednesday said it will “remain committed” to creating more housing and getting more people onto the property ladder and cited previously announced mortgage-relief measures.

Cutting inheritance tax, in a move that would benefit the wealthy, would likely create a dividing line with Labour, which is unlikely to support such a cut.

However, some Conservatives have expressed opposition to the measure because most people suffer the burden of elevated costs after a sustained period of high inflation.

The next general election must be held before the end of January 2025 but it is in Mr Sunak’s power when to call it. Most in Westminster expect it to be held in the autumn.

Mr Hunt began to ease the historically high tax burden in his autumn statement, including by cutting national insurance.

But millions of workers will face a squeeze on their finances with the tax burden still at a record high while a freeze on thresholds remains in place.

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Che Guevara's Fist
Che Guevara's Fist
6 months ago

I don’t care what promises that lying scum party makes.

It’s lie after lie after lie.

I’m simply amused by all the morons who will fall for it all yet again. And if Labour get in next GE, it’ll be yet another tory nightmare.

How much more of this Anglo dystopia are we willing to continue putting up with?

6 months ago

They can promise the world but none of their promises have ever been good for the UK. They are deadly to the people of the with covid, deadly with NHS, deadly with austerity (many thousands have died for their policies).

They look after their chums, they have far right press (Murdoch, Mail, telegraph etc.) looking after them. Remember brexit? What has worked.

Anyone voting for them in the next GE hasn’t been paying attention. There is nothing that represents a decent party in existence today in the Cons.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
6 months ago
Reply to  Jeff

Agreed. So what are we likely to see? Some sort of new help to buy scheme which will benefit banks and keep up house price inflation. Perhaps an increase in the basic tax free allowance which will grab the headlines (everybody’s tax burden cut!) but actually is worth more the more you earn. Sadly too many people who are not political anoraks like NC readers, will fall for it and vote for them. The big question is whether Starmer will manage to present a ‘vision’ that people can cling to. He really needs to do it soon.

6 months ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

The words “Starmer” and “vision” appear to be mutually exclusive if you reflect on our experience of the man’s leadership to date.

6 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

First part of getting the UK on track will be removing the Conservative Party and hoping it implodes then holding KS feet over the fire to survive a second term.

Let’s see, what leadership the UK has supported to date? Cameron? May? The shambles Johnson, the PM that tanked a nation, Truss, or Sunak who is setting up his job post PM. What leaderships exists now, what have we had.

The words “Conservative” and “UK a wreck” a pretty good description of the UK today.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
6 months ago

It beats me how anyone could vote for a party that focusses on giving the poor, disabled, sick and vulnerable etc a good financial kicking when they are already down, particularly as the tories have destroyed the supportive infrastructure.
Further to that most working age people on benefits are working but not paid enough to live. So Hunt also plans to make their difficult lives even more difficult.
Wales gets the government voted for by England. Its tome tocall a halt to that.

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