Autumn Statement: What people in Yorkshire think of Jeremy Hunt’s announcement in Autumn Statement

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has announced more than one hundred measures in his Autumn Statement which he says will lead to economic growth which is currently stagnant.

The speech, delivered on Wednesday to the Commons, is the Chancellor’s main opportunity outside of the Budget to make tax and spending announcements.

Mr Hunt is using the statement to introduce changes aimed at reviving both the UK’s struggling economy and the Tories’ election chances.

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Like most families The Yorkshire Post spoke to, they were unsure what the Autumn Statement actually means for them.

Victoria Fox and daughter CleoVictoria Fox and daughter Cleo
Victoria Fox and daughter Cleo

Here are the key points:

Jeremy Hunt is announcing tax cuts, tighter welfare rules and further measures aimed at getting more people into work in his autumn statement.

The speech, delivered on Wednesday to the Commons, is the Chancellor’s main opportunity outside of the Budget to make tax and spending announcements.

Mr Hunt is using the statement to introduce changes aimed at reviving both the UK’s struggling economy and the Tories’ election chances.

Linda and Jack Marshall from DoncasterLinda and Jack Marshall from Doncaster
Linda and Jack Marshall from Doncaster
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In full, the Chancellor has said the package contains 110 measures he hopes will boost growth.

Here is a summary of what has been announced so far:

Minimum wage

The national living wage will rise by £1.02 to £11.44 from April, with the policy extended to cover workers aged 21 and over for the first time, rather than 23 and over.

Michelle Jackson is pleased with the savings on National Insurance contributions.Michelle Jackson is pleased with the savings on National Insurance contributions.
Michelle Jackson is pleased with the savings on National Insurance contributions.

It means the lowest paid will receive a boost of £1,800 a year.

Tighter welfare rules

Welfare recipients who do not find a job within 18 months will be forced to undertake work experience under plans to get more people into employment, the Government has already announced.

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Those who do not comply with the rules will have their benefits, including access to free prescriptions and legal aid, cut off.

Kathryn WraggKathryn Wragg
Kathryn Wragg

Universal Credit uplift

However, the Government chose to uplift Universal Credit by September’s 6.7 per cent rate of inflation, despite speculation that it could instead base the increase on October’s lower rate of 4.6 per cent in order to save money.

Pensions

Pensions will be increased by 8.5 per cent to £221 a week from April, Mr Hunt said.

Alcohol duty

Alcohol duty will be frozen until August 1 next year, meaning no increase in duty on beer, cider, wine or spirits, while tobacco duty will increase.

What people in Yorkshire have to say:

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Victoria Fox, 39, and Jody Hopwood, 43, live at home in West Yorkshire with four children and are both self-employed.

“Times are hard for every family. It’s a shocking time for us all in the cost of living crisis.

“We’ve really had to cut back on luxuries. Our gas and electric bill has gone up from £100 per month to £400, the government really needs to do something to help.

“It’s great the minimum wage is going up as everything is more expensive although it won’t impact us as we’re self employed and we can’t put up our prices because then our clients are feeling the brunt even more.”

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The Chancellor has however axed class 2 National Insurance contributions for the self-employed.

Victoria works as a trauma coach and writer and her fiance is a personal trainer and mental health advocate. She added that she was shocked to hear of the benefits sanctions which will affect people off work due to mental health problems.

“My fiance and I have both experienced mental health problems and for many people they are invisible. Families don’t need the added pressure.

Linda Marshall is a retired mum of two who lives in Doncaster caring for her elderly parents.

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She welcomed the rise in state pension which will increase by 8.5 per cent to £221 a week from April.

Linda said: “The cost of living crisis hasn’t impacted me much as the children are now both adults and my bills have only just started going up.”

She added her daughter was worried when her gas and electricity bills rocketed by £400 a month.

Her daughter Jaimie is a student doctor and she also lives with her son Jack who lives with a disability and is at university.

Linda is concerned about the tighter benefit sanctions.

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The Chancellor announced that welfare recipients who do not find a job within 18 months will be forced to undertake work experience under plans to get more people into employment.

Those who do not comply with the rules will have their benefits, including access to free prescriptions and legal aid, cut off.

Linda said: “This will cause more suicides. People with disabilities can’t always find work even from home. It’s hard enough whether you have a physical or mental disability there is enough pressure. People are going to buckle under this pressure.”

Linda’s son lives with Moebius Syndrome which is a rare condition which impacts his life in many ways such as challenges walking and talking.

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“He contributes in many ways from campaigning to set up a men’s mental health club to fundraising for a range of charities through his outdoor pursuits.

Mother-of-two Michelle Jackson, 60, from Barnsley, who lives with her husband and children aged 16 and 24, said she is pleased with the lowering of National Insurance contributions.

“It will save me £450 per year,” said Michelle who works as a supporting artist on TV.

Her friend Kathryn Wragg, also 60, who lives alone as her two adult children live independently said the announcement will negatively affect new businesses.

She said: “I work in catering and the rise in minimum wage will impact new businesses.”