Spring Statement is the chance for Sunak to step up
The country really is in quite a predicament. The cost of living is skyrocketing, taxes have been raised to their highest point in 70 years, thousands of pounds are being added to heating bills and more people than ever are facing the choice between eating and heating.
This year’s Spring Statement is likely to be one of the most anticipated yet and the pressure is on to put the country back on an even keel - especially as there could be more to come.
When is the Spring Statement?
The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, will take to the stand and deliver his Budget speech in the House of Commons this Wednesday 23rd March at 12.30pm.
It will be broadcast live and can be watched on TV or online. The documents will also be published afterwards on the GOV.uk website, which will include a transcript and further detail on the measures announced during the statement.
Any hints as to what the statement might contain?
Due to the amount of controversy surrounding this year’s Statement, unsurprisingly there have been fewer predictions flying around in the days leading up to the Chancellor’s speech this year. As always though, Sunak will deliver Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts on GDP growth, borrowing, debt and inflation.
There have been a few leaks in recent days, including plans to cut fuel duty by 5p a litre. Sunak has also said to have looked at raising the National Insurance threshold, which would remove some of the lowest wage earners from paying the tax.
But with energy prices surging and the average family looking at an additional 50% on their bills every year, and petrol prices hitting a record £1.60 per litre plus, these measures will barely touch the sides. Together with inflation, which is expected to rise even further than 8% as the war in Russia and Ukraine continues, the British public is looking at a considerable pay cut as benefits, pensions and wages struggle to keep up - something needs to be done.
What would we like to see?
We would be naive to think that the huge bills left by Covid were going to do anything but result in higher taxes, but safe to say no one could have predicted the times we currently find ourselves in.
Businesses have just recovered from a hit thanks to years of ongoing lockdowns and just as we enter a restriction-free future, the squeeze in disposable incomes will result in people spending less. There will not be as much money around for treats, days out or little extras we may have enjoyed previously, and this impacts our businesses, our communities and our economy.
We would like to see a better package of support for employers and businesses who could be facing a further wave of austerity. We also need to see further price caps at the petrol pump and on fuel prices. It would also be more helpful to Britain’s lowest earners to be exempt from paying National Insurance if they are in a non-paying tax bracket - the threshold is currently set at £12,570, whereas the NI threshold is £9,880.
From recent reports, it looks as though Sunak will be strongly resisting any bigger action. Some organisations, such as the SNP, has called for an "emergency package of support" while Labour demanded a windfall tax on oil giants. Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has also called for political intervention, saying this current situation “is not something money management can fix”.
We will be watching closely on the day and reporting on all the latest events from the Spring Statement. In the meantime, if you would like any legal advice for your situation, contact Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.