Jeremy Hunt Autumn Statement

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has cut business and personal taxes by £20bn in an Autumn Statement aimed at boosting growth, but the UK’s budget watchdog warned that overall taxes are still rising to a postwar high (The Financial Times £).

In what will be one of his last economic announcements before a general election, the chancellor said a stronger outlook for the public finances meant he could cut national insurance from 12% to 10% and offer firms a tax cut to increase investment, which he described as the largest in modern British history (The Guardian).

The Office for Budget Responsibility issued gloomy forecasts for the UK economy on Wednesday as Jeremy Hunt delivered an Autumn Statement that he said would boost growth for “a country that has turned the corner” (The Financial Times £).

The UK economy is poised for two years of subdued growth amid higher interest rates, although the country will dodge a recession, the Office for Budget Responsibility warned in a sharply downgraded forecast (The Times £).

The UK’s biggest retailers, factories, offices and even hospitals face an estimated £1.6bn of extra costs from next year after they were excluded from a freeze on business rates in the Autumn Statement on Wednesday (The Financial Times £).

Retail, hospitality and property leaders have bemoaned the chancellor’s decision not to scrap an inflation-linked rise in business rates, which many have warned will be “a massive hit to the high street” (The Times £).

Ministers have frozen alcohol duty until next summer in a bid to encourage patrons to spend in Britain’s pubs, which have been facing closures because of rising costs (The Times £).

The largest industrial companies have won what the chancellor described as “the largest business tax cut in modern British history”, a £10bn-a-year break on investment in plant and machinery (The Times £).

Asda owner Mohsin Issa has been warned that he risks being found in contempt after he was accused of ‘misleading’ Parliament (The Telegraph £). Claims against the billionaire retail tycoon have been made after he submitted evidence to the Business and Trade Committee, which reportedly contained inaccuracies.

Britvic reported “excellent progress” for the full year as strong sales of Tango and Pepsi Max proved the resilience of the soft drinks category amid inflationary pressures (The Times £).

JAB Holding, the European investment group that owns Pret A Manger, Coty and Krispy Kreme, is replacing its longtime chief executive who spearheaded a transformation of its portfolio into a collection of some of the best-known consumer names (The Financial Times £).

EU lawmakers have rejected a proposal to cut by half pesticide use within the bloc after a backlash from rightwing politicians and farmers (The Financial Times £).

Bargain-hunting Americans are expected to turn out in record numbers for the start of the US holiday season, but their fatigue at higher prices is making retailers cautious and putting strain on the nation’s economic engine (The Financial Times £).