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Autumn Statement 2013: “Britain's moving again; let's keep going”, declares Chancellor George Osborn

By amerrell  |  Posted: December 05, 2013

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Chancellor George Osborne seized on the improving economic

outlook to declare help for young people seeking work.

Promising a recovery for all, but warning hard won gains

could be easily lost, he announced a freeze on fuel duty next year and a cap on

business rates at two per cent from April 2004 and an additional £100m of bank

fines to go to military and emergency services charities.

And as expected he gave married couples a boost by bringing in a £1,000

tax allowance transfer.

Significantly for the working population there was the news

that we will all have the reality of  working for longer sooner that we thought.

Government sources disclosed that people now in their 40s will

not get a state pension until they are 68. Those in their 30s will have to wait

until they are 69.

But he made a point of focusing on getting the economy

moving by helping small business and young people.

Employers' national insurance contributions would be scrapped for the

under 21s, said Mr Osborne, calling it a "jobs tax" for 1.5 million workers

under 21.

"We're not going to leave young people behind as the economy grows.

We are going to have a responsible recovery for all."

This was, of course, countered by the changes to the retirement age. He

confirmed that the state pension age would rise to 68 in the mid 2030s and 69

in the late 2040s.

According to the Treasury the delayed retirement dates will

help save around £400 billion from the national pensions' bill over the next 50

years.

Even before the Autumn Statement the leaked announcement drew criticism

from unions claiming that Britons were being expected to work "until they

drop".

Stressing that there was little room for manoeuvre he declared "Britain's

economic plan is working" but warned the "job is not yet done",

adding that "more difficult decisions" would need to be taken.

The economic crash, he acknowled, was still affecting family budgets and

still a very real factor.

Underlining the impact of the recession he said GDP had fallen as a

result by 7.2 per cent rather than 6.3 per cent - the equivalent of £3,000 per

household and one of the sharpest falls globally.

"The hard work of the British people is paying off and we will not

squander their efforts", he said.

UK plc was, said the Chancellor, now growing faster than any other

advanced economy.

Mr Osborne said the improving economic outlook meant borrowing would be

£111 billion this year - £9 billion less than predicted at the time of the

Budget in March.

Overall the Office for Budget Responsibility is now forecasting that

borrowing over the next five years would be £73 billion less than previously

thought with a "small cash surplus" by 2018/2019.

The Chancellor said the economy was expected to bounce back strongly

with the OBR forecasting growth this year of 1.4 per cent - more than double

the forecast at the time of the Budget in March.

The improving economic outlook, he said, meant borrowing would be £111

billion this year - £9 billion less than predicted at the time of the Budget in

March.

Overall the Office for Budget Responsibility is now forecasting that

borrowing over the next five years would be £73 billion less than previously

thought with a "small cash surplus" by 2018/2019.

The Chancellor said the economy was expected to bounce back strongly

with the OBR forecasting growth this year of 1.4 per cent - more than double

the forecast at the time of the Budget in March.

Mr Osborne announced a new cap from next year on welfare spending but

said that state pensions would be excluded.

He promised a further £3 billion in savings in the public sector but

said the NHS would be excluded and confirmed that funding would be made available for a programme

to upgrade school kitchens.

Those looking for work an aged 18 to 21 without basic maths or English would be

required to undertake training in these skills or lose benefits, to

start a traineeship or take up work experience or community work after six months or face

the same sanction.

He announced an additional 30,000 student places next year, with the cap

on student numbers abolished altogether in 2015.

Mr Osborne said the improving economic outlook meant borrowing would be

£111 billion this year - £9 billion less than predicted at the time of the

Budget in March.

Overall the Office for Budget Responsibility is now forecasting that

borrowing over the next five years would be £73 billion less than previously

thought with a "small cash surplus" by 2018/2019.

The Chancellor said the economy was expected to bounce back strongly

with the OBR forecasting growth this year of 1.4 per cent - more than double

the forecast at the time of the Budget in March.

"Britain's moving again; let's keep going," he declared, as he took his seat again shortly after noon.

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