THE Chancellor gave his Autumn Statement to the House of Commons last Wednesday, outlining the government’s plan for a stronger economy that will support businesses and reward hard work.

Tax – The government is putting £450 back into the pocket of the average worker earning £35,400 a year through a National Insurance (NI) tax cut from 12 per cent to 10 per cent.

A total of 27 million working people will benefit.

We are also be cutting and simplifying tax for two million self-employed workers by abolishing Class 2 National Insurance contributions and cutting the NI top rate from nine per cent to eight per cent. This will deliver an average saving of £350 for someone earning £28,000 a year.

Business – Full-expensing (a temporary measure that the government introduced after the pandemic) has been made permanent.

This means businesses can reduce their tax bill by 25p for every £1 they invest in new technology, equipment and machinery.

It is the biggest tax cut for businesses in modern British history and is predicted to boost investment by £20 billion per year over the next decade.

Business leaders called for this move, arguing it would be the single most effective policy the government could introduce to support businesses. The government has listened.

Small businesses are being supported too. The NI cuts for the self-employed could be worth £500 to small traders, and small businesses in the hospitality sector with a rateable value of less than £110,000 will have their rates reduced by 75 per cent for another year.

To support local pubs, breweries and distillers, the Chancellor is freezing alcohol duty until August.

The Climate Change Agreement Scheme will be extended, giving energy intensive businesses like steel, ceramics and breweries around £300 million of tax relief every year until 2033 to encourage investment in energy efficiency and support the Net Zero transition.

Pensions – The government has kept its promise to keep the triple lock, which guarantees that the state pension rises by inflation, earnings or 2.5 per cent - whichever is highest.

In April this year the state pension was boosted by inflation (10.1 per cent).

Next April it will be increased by earnings (8.5 per cent). These are the two largest increases in the state pension in UK history.

As Secretary of State for Work and Pensions I took this decision in conjunction with the Chancellor to ensure that people who have worked and contributed to our economy are supported in their retirement.

Low Pay – The Chancellor announced an increase in the National Living Wage from £10.50 an hour to £11.42.

This is the largest cash increase in the history of the NLW and will boost the salary of a full-time worker by £1,800 from next April. Benefits will also increase in line with inflation (6.7 per cent).

For the past year the government has been focused on getting inflation under control after the Russian invasion of Ukraine pushed up food, energy and fuel prices.

Now that inflation has halved, and is forecast to fall further, the time is right to focus on boosting productivity, rewarding hard work and growing our economy.

More from Mel at: or follow him on X (Twitter) @MelJStride.