Easing of welfare cuts predicted in Autumn Statement

Written by Tom Freeman on 23 November 2016 in News

A rise in the 'National Living Wage' and easing of benefit cuts are expected in Chancellor Philip Hammond's Autumn Statement

Philip Hammond - credit Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/PA

Chancellor Philip Hammond will deliver his first major economic statement to the House of Commons today amid predictions he will scale back some of his predecessor George Osborne's more extreme austerity measures.

Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to protect those 'just about managing', and Hammond's Autumn Statement is expected to include a £1.4bn investment in affordable housing, an easing of welfare cuts and an increase in the minimum wage.

There is also rumours he may unveil a ban on letting agency fees - something the Conservatives have previously ruled out. Theresa May herself has voted against the ban twice.


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Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, welcomed the move and urged the Scottish Government to use its allocation of the investment in housing. 

“This cash injection of £1.4 billion in affordable housing by the UK government will mean Scotland should benefit by more than £100 million through Barnett Consequentials," he said. "We urge the Scottish Government to add this to the £3 billion it has already committed to invest in affordable housing and build more than the 50,000 new homes it has promised and protect people from the impact of benefit cuts.”

John Dickie, the Director of Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, urged the Chancellor to roll back on proposed cuts to Universal Credit.
  
“If the UK government is serious about supporting families who are ‘just about managing’ the Chancellor needs to reverse cuts to the universal credit work allowance and start to uprate family benefits in line with inflation," he said.
 
"Tomorrow it’s decision time: will the Chancellor turn warm words into action for struggling families or will he plough on with policies that will push them into greater hardship?  Low income families are already struggling to put food on the table, pay the bills and ensure their children are able to take part in school trips and activities.”
 

The Office for Budget Responsibility will publish its estimates for the country's economic growth and the government's finances immediately after Hammond's speech.

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