The UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt, has laid out spending plans in his Autumn Statement — a key budget update to MPs.

The key announcements that have been unveiled in the House of Commons include a rise to the minimum wage, cuts to national insurance, and increased state pensions, plus a simplified tax relief for research and development, that will cut the rate loss-making companies are taxed.

Here are some of the primary measures affecting UK business:

  • The minimum wage, or ‘national living wage’ is to rise to £11.44 per hour (from £10.42) from April 2024 for those aged 21 upwards. For 18 to 20 year olds, there will be an increase of £1,11 — up to £8.60
  • An abolishment of Class 2 national insurance for self-employed people
  • State pensions are to rise by 8.5% to £221.20 a week, in line with average earnings
  • National insurance to be cut; on earnings between £12,570 and £50,270, from 12% to 10% from 6 January
  • Tax breaks for business to be made permanent: allowing them to offset investment in IT, equipment and machinery against corporation tax
  • Plans to remove benefits and step up monitoring of those on welfare, to encourage more people back into work

Earlier in the week, the government expressed that supporting UK business would be paramount to spending plans. Also, the need to address hours of wasted public servants’ time tied up in administrative tasks, to relieve the pressures burdening the nation’s public services, including teachers and the police.

Its ‘Productivity Programme’ revealed some public servants waste a whole working day each week on admin, with work already underway to identify the specific tasks public servants perform and finding ways to ease the burden.

On a visit to a Blue Light Hub — which brings together police, ambulance and fire services — Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said:  “We must do better by cutting admin, preventing problems before they emerge, and safely introducing new technology like AI. This will deliver happier workforces, better public services and a stronger economy.”

He also made it clear that backing businesses is a key focus: “Our priority is to support businesses to create the jobs that people need. That is the most important thing at this stage.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also indicated that the government is now in a better position to cut taxes, “in a responsible way”, with the pace of price rises having slowed, partly as a result of lower global energy prices.

In a speech at a London college, Rishi Sunak also reiterated his priority to help people back into work and focus on “rewarding hard work”.

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