The Spring Statement seemed to satisfy no one, said James Coney in The Sunday Times. Here are five things that the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, should have announced:
1. A delay to the NI rise
What’s the point of bringing in a new levy from April “if you’re going to give half of it back by raising national insurance thresholds and giving away £6bn?” Delaying the rise would have made sense.
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2. Changing tax thresholds
Since the previous Budget, the Chancellor has amassed a £7.5bn windfall because the Treasury has “barely moved income tax thresholds between 2019 and 2022 and has frozen them until 2026”. Huge numbers of workers have been dragged into higher tax bands.
3. Boosting pensions
The state pension triple lock was put on hold this year because of the pandemic. Although pensions will rise in April, it will only be by September’s 3.1% inflation figure. Inflation is likely to be 7% by then.
4. Childcare help
Nurseries are facing soaring costs from heating, food and wages. Sunak should have boosted the childcare hours scheme to ensure it covers all costs.
5. Ending the student loan raid
Sunak’s plan to extend student loan repayments to 40 years, and lower the salary at which they start being paid, will raise £35bn over five years. This generation faces “an impossible task to get by”.
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