What Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has revealed his budget in the House of Commons.

He promised to extend subsidies to household energy costs, announced a major expansion of free childcare, changed the amount savers could get in their pensions before they were taxed, and boosted research and development support.

Jeremy Hunt in the House of Commons.  Photo: PA (63014794)
Jeremy Hunt in the House of Commons. Photo: PA (63014794)

He said: The retractors are wrong and the optimists are right. We stick to the plan because the plan works.”

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer was unimpressed, arguing: “After 13 years of his government our economy needed major surgery but like millions across our country this budget leaves us stuck in a waiting room with nothing but a sticky plaster.

The budget included a schedule update for East West Rail decisions.

Here are the main points from the Chancellor’s budget statement in the House of Commons.


  • The chancellor said the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) now expects the UK will not enter a technical recession this year and that the government will “meet the prime minister’s priorities of halving inflation, reducing debt and reviving the economy”.
  • Hunt said that despite continued global instability, the Balance Sheet expects UK inflation to fall from 10.7% in the fourth quarter of last year to 2.9% by the end of 2023.
  • There will be 12 new investment areas, likely to be in the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, North East, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Midlands, Teesside and Liverpool. There will also be at least one each in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough missed out on this, although a joint mayoralty authority applied
  • The Bedford-Cambridge route for the East West Railway will be confirmed in May.
  • Mr. Hunt also announced a series of upgrades and local financing related to transportation.
  • He confirmed that the Bedford-Cambridge East West Rail route would be announced in May.

energy and fuel

  • The chancellor confirmed that the energy price guarantee will be extended for another three months, and that households who use prepaid meters will get assistance as their fees will be in line with direct debit fees.
  • He confirmed that fuel surcharges would remain frozen and a 5p reduction would be maintained for another year.
UK fuel surcharges (pence per litre).  Graphic: PA (63014792)
UK fuel surcharges (pence per litre). Graphic: PA (63014792)


  • He announced that he would provide £63m of funding to “maintain our leisure centers and public pools” in response to the rising costs, and £100m would be given to support thousands of charities and community organizations.
  • The chancellor also announced increased draft relief for pubs – the “Brexit Pub Guarantee” which will see charges on draft products in pubs 11p less than charges in supermarkets from August.
  • The chancellor said the government would “raise tobacco charges” and “freeze total ranges of gaming fee revenue”.


  • The chancellor confirmed that the government would add £11 billion to the defense budget over the next five years, and another £30 million would go to war veterans.

Business and science

  • The chancellor confirmed that a planned increase in corporate tax to 25% would go ahead, but announced a new policy of “full capital expenditure” over the next three years, meaning every pound invested in equipment, plant or IT machinery can be deducted. Immediately out of profits.
  • Mr Hunt said he would offer a new tax credit for small and medium-sized businesses that spend 40% of their spending on research and development. He said tax credits for movies, television and video games would also be extended.
  • The Chancellor has announced an annual £1 million prize for AI research over the next ten years, called the “Manchester Prize”.
GDP growth forecast for the 2023 budget. Graphic: PA (63014790)
GDP growth forecast for the 2023 budget. Graphic: PA (63014790)


  • Up to £20 billion will be allocated to early development of carbon capture and storage.
  • Mr Hunt said that, subject to consultation, nuclear would be eligible for the same investment incentives as renewables and along with that “more public investment would come”.


  • Mr Hunt said there would be “the biggest change to our social care system in a decade”, with reforms aimed at supporting more people with disabilities at work. The government will fund a new program called Universal Support in England and Wales, which could help up to 50,000 people a year.
  • The chancellor also unveiled penalty reforms aimed at making people on Universal Credit benefits work, but for those working reduced hours, and the government will increase the earnings threshold from the equivalent of 15 hours to 18 hours.


  • He said he would allocate £400m to mental health and musculoskeletal support, and there would also be a £3m pilot project to help people with disabilities transition into the workplace.
  • Mr Hunt said he would allocate an additional £10m to the third sector for suicide prevention.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt leaves 11 Downing Street with his red box and members of his ministerial team.  Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA (63014788)
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt leaves 11 Downing Street with his red box and members of his ministerial team. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA (63014788)


  • Mr Hunt announced that he would abolish the life allowance limit on pensions and that he would increase tax-free annuities from £40,000 to £60,000.

Child care and schools

  • The chancellor has announced an increase for childcare suppliers, with the government piloting stimulus payments of £600 for babysitters joining the profession – £1,200 if they join through an agency.
  • Mr Hunt said it would also increase funding paid to nurseries offering free childcare under the working hours offer by £204m from September, rising to £288m next year.
  • The minimum staff-child ratio will change from 1:4 to 1:5 for two-year-olds in England, although this will remain optional, he said.
  • Mr Hunt also said he wants all schools to be able to offer universal care on both sides of the school day by September 2026.
  • The chancellor has announced 30 hours of free childcare for all children under the age of five from the moment maternity care ends, when they are eligible.

Look for more feedback on the budget.

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