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Key Points To The Autumn Statement 2015

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Tax Credits

All cuts to tax credits are to be cancelled.

Rowena Mason, political correspondent: Osborne has clearly surprised his MPs by totalling abandoning his tax credit changes that would have cost families up to £1,300 each, which caused consternation on his own side as well as the opposition. It is a 100% u-turn since his aides were insisting right up until recently that he was committed to the cuts in principle.

Welfare

£12bn of welfare savings will be delivered in this parliament.

RM: Osborne is remaining defiant in the face of criticism that this will be too painful to deliver, stressing the cuts right at the beginning of his speech. He is yet to announce how he will soften the impact of tax credit cuts but he is refusing to back down on the scale of cuts to come from social security. It looks, however, like they will be spread over a longer period of time than two years.

Housing benefit capped at local housing allowance rate.

RM: It appears some of the welfare savings that Osborne is seeking will come instead from housing benefit. It is not clear yet whether this will be equivalent to tax credit cuts and how it will affect tenants.

Deficit

Deficit in 2015/16 to be £73.5bn, falling each year to a £10.1bn surplus in 2019/20, £0.1bn more than previously announced.

RM: It looks like Osborne hasn’t dipped into his surplus too much to find the extra cash he needs to reverse the tax credit changes.

NHS

£22bn of efficiency savings to be made, loans for new student nurses to create 10,000 training places. A £10bn real increase has already been committed, with £6bn to come next year. Osborne announced £600m more for mental health services.

RM: Osborne’s extra cash for the NHS has been well-trailed as he seeks to neutralise Labour’s political attack about the likely A&E crisis this winter. He has also performed a bit of sleight of hand about nurses, lifting a cap on recruitment numbers but making them pay for their own training through loans rather than grants.

Women’s Health

£15m raised from the so-called tampon tax will be used to fund women’s charities.

RM: This got a huge cheer from the Tory backbenchers but a tweet from the Women’s Equality party suggests it might be seen as slightly patronising in some quarters: “Women are funding their own support and service by having periods!”

Schools

Free infant school meals to be maintained; 500 new free schools will be established; school funding system to be phased out, with a new formula to be introduced from 2017.

Regions

£12bn to fund a local growth fund and 26 new or extended enterprise zones. Business rates to be kept by local authorities. 100% of receipts from sales of local properties to be kept by local councils.

Pensions

Basic state pension to rise £3.35 to £119.30 a week from next year.

RM: While working age welfare is cut, Osborne is continuing to protect state support for pensioners – the age group most likely to vote Conservative.

Transport

Department for Transport’s day-to-day budget to be cut by 37%, but there is a pledge that money will be found for roads.

RM: Osborne wheels out one of his favourite slogans to announce “we are the builders” again, as he hails a big road building programme. At the same time, the DfT is suffering a big cut to its everyday spending.

Environment

£2bn more on flood defences.

RM: Osborne is prioritising flood defences over everything else in Defra as the government is keen to avoid a repeat of criticism during past winter floods.

Energy

Steel exempted from cost of environmental tariffs.

RM: This will be welcomed by Labour MPs whose constituencies are affected by steel closures, and Tory rightwingers who have long complained about high environmental tariffs for industry – but it has come too late to save jobs and plants that have already been mothballed.

Science

Cash funding to be protected in real terms, rising to £4.7bn.

RM: Osborne is repeatedly talking about areas where he is protecting spending, like science, while skating over things that he is cutting. The BiS budget is to fall by 17%, which probably means cuts to further education.

Culture

Departmental budget to fall by 20% but there will be an increase in money to the arts council, and museums will stay free; 29% rise in sports spending.

RM: Again, Osborne is boasting about the increases in spending while glossing over where the cuts are due to fall. The small print will have to be scrutinised.

Business

600,000 small businesses to get business rate relief for another year, but there is no new information on a business rates review.

Apprenticeship levy to be set at 0.5% of an employers’ pay bill to raise £2bn a year.

Growth

GDP forecast at 2.4% in 2015, revised up to 2.4% (2.3%) in 2016 and 2.5% (2.4%) in 2017, 2.4% in 2018 and 2.3% (2.4% in July) in 2019 and 2020.

Spending

£12bn of savings from government departments. Total government spending to be £756bn this year, and in successive years £773bn, £787bn, £801bn to reach £821bn in 2019/20.

Debt

Figures have been revised as a result of housing association debt being included. Now at 82.5% in 2015/16, (83.6% following the revision), falling each year to 71.3% in 2020/21.