Today Chancellor George Osborne revealed his Autumn Statement but what does the statement mean for you?
George Osborne has delivered his first upbeat assessment of the economy, although he cautioned that there’s still more work to do.
The Chancellor has chosen measures today that should shove the recovery along and make it a bit easier for some companies to do business.
- Growth forecasts are "significantly up" in the largest improvement at any Budget or Autumn Statement for 14 years, with UK growing faster than any other major economy.
- The state pension will rise by £2.95 a week from next April. People now in their 40s will receive a state pension at 68. Those in their 30s will be 69.
- Financial resources will be provided to fund expansion of free school meals to all school children in reception, year one and year two.
- The fuel duty rise for next year has been cancelled.
- Plans to increase train fares by 1% above inflation has been cancelled.
The Chancellor's Autumn Statement won the support from the Federation of Small Businesses.
– John Allan, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses
Today's Autumn Statement represents steady progress, with a range of announcements that address members' concerns in the cost of doing business, with action on business rates and confirmation that next year's fuel duty rise will be cancelled.
The statement is a sobering reminder about the scale of the deficit the country faces and the tough choices which need to be made.
We therefore welcome the use of what spare resources the Chancellor could find to focus tax cuts on encouraging firms to take on younger workers, which must be an overriding priority.
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls accused the Government of being in "complete denial" in response to the Autumn Statement, adding: "With this Government clearly it's not just the badgers who move the goalposts."
This is an important moment for Ed Balls. A very tricky day, but he needs to land a few punches.
I don't think this is a day Ed B is going to look back on with affection.
National Insurance axed for the Under 21s (for employers).
Employers' National Insurance contributions abolished for workers aged under 21. Osborne 'big shout going out' to Tory MPs who've campaigned
Economist Alan Clarke, of Scotiabank, says: "The UK credit rating may well be revised up on the back of this - better growth, less borrowing and debt to GDP starts to fall earlier."