Published On: Mon, Apr 1st, 2024
Top Stories | 4,135 views

Rishi Sunak hails UK’s 2024 economic bounce back | Politics | News

The Prime Minister has promised that 2024 will be the year that Britain “bounces back”, amid a swathe of major boosts to living standards coming into force from today.

Rishi Sunak hailed the new measures, which he said could save the average household around £3,850 a year.

Among the changes happening from today include a fall in the energy price cap, a significant rise in the living wage, 15 more hours of free childcare, a rise in housing benefits, a VAT cut for businesses and from April 6 another 2p cut in National Insurance.

Welcoming the raft of changes that will help millions of families facing cost of living struggles, Mr Sunak said they will also help “ignite” the economy.

He said: “Today’s measures could save households around £3,850 a year on average which – taken with the upcoming cuts to NICs – will put more money in their pockets to help ignite the economy”.

“Although recent years have tested our resolve, we have not bowed. We have stuck to the plan, more than halved inflation, and set us on a path to growth.

“Because of this determination, we find ourselves in a new economic moment and – thanks to our bumper package of economic reforms coming into force today – 2024 is set to be the year Britain bounces back.”

The living wage rises from £10.42 an hour to £11.44 today, which means an extra £1,800 a year for a full-time worker.

Households will also save around £250 a year on average in a fall in the energy price cap by Ofgem, down 12.3% on the previous quarter.

For a low-income two-parent family it means they will be better off by £3,850 figure.

It comes alongside the roll out of 15 hours of free childcare for parents of 2-year-olds, which will save working parents an average of £3,450 a year.

April 6 will also see a host of other changes to tax and welfare brought in, including the National Insurance cut, the Capital Gains Tax higher rate for property will be cut by four points, carers will get the right to unpaid leave, and the income threshold where child benefit is withdrawn will rise to £60,000.

Just two days later on April 8, millions will benefit from a rise in benefits of 6.7 percent, and pensioners will pocket an even larger 8.5% increase to their state pension thanks to the Triple Lock.

Honing in on the changes to free childcare hours this morning, minister Kevin Hollinrake sad the £8 billion boost is “great”.

“15 hours of childcare for parents of two-year-olds, and that expands over the next year to 30 hours for any child nine months or over, so really good news for parents”.

“It’s worth about £6,900 for the typical household, a lot of money, and is really good for those households in terms of their ability to go out and earn more money and get some help with their childcare”.

Mr Hollinrake said that the measures put in place at this year’s Budget will bring around 300,000 Brits back into the world of work, boosting the economy and ending stagnation.

However Labour’s Nick Thomas-Symonds criticised the extra childcare entitlement, claiming the Government has failed to put in place a plan to make sure there is capacity from childcare providers to allow parents to make use of the extra free hours.

Mr Thomas-Symonds warned that the number of childcare places and providers actually fell last year, labelling the policy “a betrayal”.

Reacting to other changes coming in this week, Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, said the wage increase “is good news for workers on the National Living Wage for the very obvious reason that it boosts pay packets, but the hidden benefit is that it will also have a positive impact on workplace pension contributions”.

Low Pay Commission chairwoman Baroness Philippa Stroud said: “The target has boosted the incomes of low-paid workers in especially turbulent times and the evidence suggests the increases to date have been implemented steadily and carefully so as not to damage employment opportunities.”

Source link