THE FIRST major economic autumn statement since the Brexit vote was announced on Wednesday (November 23) as Chancellor Phillip Hammond promised a rise of the minimum wage as well as the banning of Letting agent fees.

The measures included in the 2016 Autumn Statement were:

  • Increasing the National Living wage to £7.50 an hour from April 2017
  • Reducing the rate benefits are taken from those who begin work
  • A ban on letting fees for families being charged hundreds of pounds by agencies
  • £2 billion per year by 2020 for research and development funding
  • £740 million for development of 5G and the further rollout for fibre connections

Hammond said the government wants to ensure the UK economy is “match-fit” for the changes that will happen as a result of the democratic decision to leave the European Union.

So we will maintain our commitment to fiscal discipline while recognising the need for investment to drive productivity.”

He added that improving productivity is one key aim concluding that it is essential for the “high wage, high skill economy we want.”

The Autumn Statement has promised that there will also be no more welfare cuts and the deficit will continue to fall over the next five years, reaching 0.7 per cent in 2021-22.

The Chancellor stated that despite debt continuing to rise until 2018-19, it is expected to decline after this point and it will continue to fall thereafter.

Hammond said that the UK needs to meet commitments to balancing defence spending, helping the poor in the world, and the pensioners through the triple lock.

However, looking forward to the next Parliament, the government will look over its plans in regards to fiscal changes.

By Isobel Hine

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