Chancellor Rishi Sunak has made changes to universal credit which, he says, will give low-income families an extra £ 1,000 per year.
In an upbeat budget speech, he said the UK economy has not been hit as hard by the Covid pandemic as expected.
He promised more money for schools, cuts in corporate rates and took 3p off the price of a pint.
Labor said its universal credit measure would not offset the cancellation of the £ 20-per-week top-up to the benefit.
The Chancellor drew a positive picture of the health of the UK economy as it emerges from the pandemic, in his autumn statement to the packed House of Commons.
- Live: Budget Reaction
- Budget 2021: the key points at a glance
- The economy is expected to reach pre-Covid level at the end of the year
“Employment is on the rise. Investment is growing. Public services are improving. Public finances are stabilizing. And wages are rising,” he told lawmakers.
“Today’s budget offers a stronger economy for the British people: stronger growth, with the UK recovering faster than our main competitors.”
He said unemployment has not reached feared levels at the height of the pandemic, but inflation is set to rise further, from 3.1% to 4% over the next year.
Much of its budget had been announced, but new measures included:
- A real increase in spending for every government department
- A freeze on the duty on fuel
- Funding per pupil in UK schools will be brought back to 2010 levels over the next three years
- An extra £ 2.2 billion for courts, prisons and probation services, including £ 500 million to reduce court arrears
- A cut in air passenger taxes for domestic flights in the UK
- More support for industrial research and development
The abstemious chancellor also announced plans to “radically simplify” the alcohol tax, so that it was based solely on the strength of the drink.
Taxes on sparkling wine, draft beer and cider need to be cut, but will increase for stronger drinks like red wine and “white cider” from 2023.
And in a move to save pubs from closing, the duty on draft beer and cider will be reduced by 5%, about 3p per pint.
It also announced that the planned increase in duties on spirits, wine, cider and beer that will take effect from midnight on Wednesday has been canceled.
And he scrapped the expected commercial rate hike in England for next year and promised more frequent revaluations and tax breaks for companies making improvements to their properties, starting in 2023.
In further moves to revive the leisure industry as it emerges from the pandemic, it has announced a 50% discount on the corporate rate for pubs, cinemas, restaurants, gyms and other venues.
The chancellor waited until the end of his 70-minute speech to announce the changes to universal credit, which come after a £ 20-a-week cut widely condemned earlier this month.
The universal credit “taper” will be reduced, so that instead of losing 63p of benefit for every £ 1 earned over the work allowance, the amount will be reduced to 55p.
The amount people can earn before they start losing the benefit will also increase by £ 500 per year. The new rate will be introduced by December 1, he told lawmakers.
“This is a tax cut next year worth over £ 2 billion,” the chancellor said.
“Nearly two million families will keep an average of £ 1,000 more per year.”
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said Labor welcomed the move, but said it will not offset the £ 6bn cut from universal credit earlier this month, which affected five million households.
“Even after this cut, workers with universal credit still face a higher marginal tax rate than the prime minister. And those unable to work, through no fault of their own, still face the loss of over £ 1,000. per year, “he said.
The opposition leader normally responds to the chancellor’s speech on the budget, but Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer isolated himself after testing positive for Covid.
Ms. Reeves, who was enlisted to replace him at the last minute, said Mr. Sunak did not have “a coherent plan” to address the cost-of-living crisis that plagues many families, with rising energy bills and l increase in taxes.
- Autumn declaration by the Chancellor
- Rishi Sunak
Read More about Politics News here.
This Article is Sourced from BBC News. You can check the original article here: Source