Autumn Statement: Critics question help for JAMs

A freeze on fuel duty was among measures designed to help family budgets
A freeze on fuel duty was among measures designed to help family budgets
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AN INCREASE in the National Living Wage and a freeze on fuel duty were among a range of measures designed to deliver on the Government’s promise to help “just about managing” families.

However critics pointed to the Treasury’s own analysis of the impact of the Autumn Statement on households which suggested the poorest third of families will fair worst.

The Chancellor confirmed the Government will deliver its promise to raise the threshold for paying income tax to £12,500 by the next election and announced it would rise after that in line with inflation.

Philip Hammond announced changes to Universal Credit which will allow see people in work keeping more of their benefits, offsetting some of the impact of previously announced cuts.

Ashwin Kumar, chief economist at the York-based Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “Whilst there will be modest gains for some people from today’s Autumn Statement, for most people on below-average incomes, these will be dwarfed by previously announced cuts to benefits.

“Many families will gain by modest amounts of a few pounds a week from the reduction in the Universal Credit taper rate and the rise in the income tax personal allowance.

“However these gains will be dwarfed by much bigger cuts to work allowances imposed by George Osborne in April this year.”

Fuel duty will be frozen for the seventh year in a row saving motorists, Mr Hammond claimed, an average of £130 a year.

He also announced the National Living Wage will rise to £7,50 an hour from April but unions complained the rate will still not apply to workers aged under 25.