Shape of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement is beginning to emerge

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Chancellor George Osborne will give his Autumn Statement on Thursday
Chancellor George Osborne will give his Autumn Statement on Thursday Photo: Russell Cheyne/PA Wire

Bit by bit, the shape of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement is starting to emerge, more than 24 hours before he will actually give his speech in the House of Commons.

The latest tweak appears to be that he will announce a cap on business rate increases. The tax that businesses have to pay has been pegged to inflation, which means it has risen far faster in the last few years than most business' earnings, while many companies have struggled in the downturn. Business groups have been lobbying hard for a freeze in rates.

Capping the increase at two percent will be welcome, but won't go far enough for some, likely including Vince Cable, who wanted the whole system to be reviewed.

An extention of teh Northern Line in London is one of the infrastructure projects expected to get the go-ahead
An extention of teh Northern Line in London is one of the infrastructure projects expected to get the go-ahead Credit: Clive Gee/PA

Also today, the Government is warming up for the statement by announcing a significant injection of £25 billion for building roads, rail and nuclear power stations from the private sector, mainly the insurance industry. Ministers will also chuck in some of our money, by continuing to sell off some of our assets - this time the stake in Eurostar.

Read: Details of Govt infrastructure investment

The money has been a very long time coming. The Government's pace of delivering big ticket projects has been criticised time and again by business, but the pace might just, finally, be picking up.

There will be a shift in Government subsidies for renewable energy away from onshore wind turbines
There will be a shift in Government subsidies for renewable energy away from onshore wind turbines Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Finally, ministers will today confirm the latest 'strike prices' for renewable energy - that represents the amount of subsidy the taxpayer shells out to entice investors to make big long-term commitments. And there will be a shift of cash from wind farms in the countryside and solar power, to wind farms far out at sea. Politically convenient? Perhaps. But after months of discussions, industry will at least be pleased to have clarity about how the sums will stack up.

It also seems likely the Chancellor will scrap National Insurance payments for workers under 21. In theory that would make it cheaper, and therefore more likely, for employers to take on young people, helping to address stubbornly high youth unemployment. But it wouldn't be cheap.

As ever, any giveaways like that, or the business rate cap, will have to be paid for by cutbacks or increases in the Government's income elsewhere.

Read our Economics Editor Richard Edgar's blog: Will this Autumn Statement help win votes?