What should be in the chancellor's Autumn Statement?


Chancellor George Osborne delivers his Autumn Statement on Wednesday 5 December.

It will be an update on the government's plans for the economy, accompanied by the latest forecasts and analysis from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

As ever, there are loads of pressure groups, analysts and armchair chancellors keen to tell him what he should be doing.

Here is a selection of some of the views being expressed.

David Orr, chief executive, National Housing Federation

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David Orr

We... oppose any further cuts to housing benefits, such as those suggested for the under-25s”

End Quote David Orr National Housing Federation

To fix our housing crisis we want the rapid release of small parcels of publicly owned brownfield land, to get building quickly.

This could provide up to 37,500 homes, create 55,000 construction jobs and get the economy moving.

To give housing associations the confidence to invest in new homes after 2015, government should continue to support affordable housing and confirm future rental income streams.

Raising the amount councils can borrow would encourage them to work more closely with housing associations to invest more in housing, boost supply and pump money back into local economies.

We also believe benefits should keep pace with rising living costs, and oppose any further cuts to housing benefits, such as those suggested for the under-25s.

Ros Altmann, director general, Saga

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Ros Altmann

The coalition government has done nothing to help savers”

End Quote Ros Altmann Saga

We would like this Autumn Statement to show that savers are valued. This is what every economy needs.

People with savings have often struggled to put that money aside and denied themselves things so that they can have financial independence.

It is important that we encourage people to save for their future, but if we continue to punish those who have done so, especially as they reach retirement, younger people will decide it is simply not worth it.

Young people saving to buy their first home are also suffering in the current economic climate.

The coalition government has done nothing to help savers.

There has been no recognition from the chancellor of people who have done the right thing, put money aside, wanted to look after themselves and be independent.

The government either doesn't recognise the damage that does, or doesn't care.

Tony Dolphin, chief economist, Institute for Public Policy Research

Start Quote

Tony Dolphin

When growth is weak, spending cuts should be scaled back; when it is strong, they should be speeded up”

End Quote Tony Dolphin IPPR

George Osborne should abandon his two fiscal rules.

The first is no constraint at all, because it only requires him to forecast that the deficit will be eliminated in five years time, not to ever actually eliminate it.

The second - that debt should be falling by 2015-16 - can only be achieved by more tax increases or spending cuts, which would be a foolish move given the economy is so weak.

A new rule should specify that the scale of spending cuts will vary according to the strength of the economy.

When growth is weak, spending cuts should be scaled back; when it is strong, they should be speeded up.

This would increase the credibility of fiscal policy and allow the chancellor to announce a boost to infrastructure spending in 2013-14.

Ian Brinkley, director, The Work Foundation

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Ian Brinkley

There is no need for the government to pursue wasteful measures ”

End Quote Ian Brinkley The Work Foundation

The government can spend some money on stimulating the economy, but there are legitimate concerns about how this will be taken by the markets.

As a result, the money would be better spent on investment in infrastructure than in short-term tax cuts.

The money should be used to support the science, design and technology base and strengthen institutions focused on innovation.

As wages are low and employers are hiring in large numbers, there is no need for the government to pursue wasteful measures aimed at making the labour force less expensive or more flexible, such as national insurance holidays or further deregulation.

Such measures will do nothing to spur demand in the economy.

Eamonn Butler, director, Adam Smith Institute

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Eamonn Butler, director, Adam Smith Institute

The government should slash its spending on marginal things and focus on doing what is really important”

End Quote Eamonn Butler Adam Smith Institute

The chancellor must stick to his deficit-reduction plan, but raising taxes isn't the way.

Instead, he needs to boost growth.

If every small business hired one extra person we would be booming.

They don't, because our huge tax and regulatory burden is now an obstacle to risk-taking, enterprise and job-creation.

The chancellor should commit to a 15% corporation tax, which would stimulate investment and jobs.

And the 45% top tax should go - it is simply driving high earners abroad.

Meanwhile, our complex employment regulations discourage hiring and must be radically simplified.

On spending, we have had no austerity. Current spending is still rising.

The government should slash its spending on marginal things and focus on doing what is really important.

John Cridland, director general, CBI

Start Quote

John Cridland

We also want bold action from the government to deliver big-ticket infrastructure projects that are pivotal to future growth”

End Quote John Cridland CBI

Businesses support the government's deficit-reduction plan because it's critical for the UK to keep confidence in international markets and interest rates low.

But the chancellor does have extra resources available.

The government under-spent by £7.8bn last year and will receive a windfall of up to £4bn from the 4G spectrum auction next year.

We believe that around £1.5bn of this should be invested into short-term growth measures, including a new capital allowance incentive for infrastructure investment, capped business rates at 2% in 2013, and local government spending on road maintenance.

We also want bold action from the government to deliver big-ticket infrastructure projects that are pivotal to future growth.

This "industrial Olympics" would mean fast-tracking key projects like upgrading the A303 and A14, the Northern Hub rail scheme and the Thames Tideway.

John Walker, chairman, Federation of Small Businesses

Start Quote

John Walker

We want to see a clear plan of action from the chancellor, which he can take forward to Budget 2013”

End Quote John Walker Federation of Small Businesses

This is a pivotal point for the chancellor at the half-way point of the Parliament.

We are calling for three main things - more details on the business bank and how this will improve competition in the banking sector, reform of the labour market including an extension to the National Insurance contributions holiday scheme, a more simplified tax system, and for the 3p fuel duty rise to be scrapped.

Small business policymaking has been subject to a range of confusing patchwork approaches that have often had minimal impact on the ground.

We want to see a clear plan of action from the chancellor, which he can take forward to Budget 2013, which will detail the long-term support small firms need.

Key to this is going to be the small business bank and eventually how it can become the Small Business Administration, supporting small businesses over the long-term.

Joanne Segars, chief executive, National Association of Pension Funds

Start Quote

Joanne Segars

Quantitative easing has made it much more expensive for businesses to run final-salary pension scheme”

End Quote Joanne Segars NAPF

The chancellor must not restrict the amount of tax relief that people who are saving into a pension can get.

The system has already been through many changes in recent years.

These have been costly for businesses and pension funds, and have damaged public confidence in pensions as a way to save.

The government might say it is going after the rich, but many middle managers and more modest earners would get caught up in the net.

We need to be encouraging people to save for their old age, not putting them off.

Quantitative easing [QE] has made it much more expensive for businesses to run final-salary pension scheme.

The chancellor needs to acknowledge this by recognising that QE is distorting the books, and cutting pension funds some slack.

This could free up more cash for businesses to spend on investment and jobs.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    We do not need any more housing despite Housing Fed. saying we do. Look at the floods we now have.We have planning rushing through housing on green belt. They apparently get invited to dinners/parties by builders. Councils should convert their empty buildings into 1/2 bed flas, not sell.Ttennnants should not get paid to get out of propety it does not happen in private sector. have this in contract

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    Spend.....get Keynesian....

    Cutting public spending during a recession has neverworked..

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    Mr. Osbourne, should attempt the impossible & tax the very Wealthy & the Banks, who created the global financial crisis in the 1st instance, which the poor in the UK & across the planet have been forced to pay the consequences of. "Simples".

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    Some suggestions:
    - Imprison relevant bailed out bank CEOs until we have 2 quarters of recoveries.
    - Sow seeds of growth by encouraging entrepreneurialism by removing corporation tax and offering free accounting services etc.
    - Employ out of work people to convert derelict sites to green public areas ready for building new houses.
    - Identify benefits traps and remove them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    What should be in the chancellor's Autumn Statement?

    1. An acknowledgement that quantitative easing is damaging the future pensions of all.

    2. A halt to the increases in fuel duties.

    3. Private energy and water companies are moved onto a 'not for profit' footing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    Infrastructure in all regions of the uk, not vanity projects but real useful infrasture improvements. Incentives for housebuilders and the conversions of unwanted retail space to housing. Keep doing the best for the british economy and not worry about trying to please everybody (including pensioners like me and especially not Nick Clegg) in order to get elected again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    What should be in Osbourne's Autumn statement?

    I resign.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    First Class train passes for the rich and arrogant!

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    31. Mike from Brum
    Now that global warming has been exposed as an excuse to tax us plebs a bit more,
    Has it? Where? When?

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    The most punchable face in politics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    Stop listening to the CBI, the Institute of Directors, right wing think tanks, Michael Gove and anyone claiming to be " wealth creators"

    Try listening to ordinary people instead if you have any idea who they are you clueless muppet.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    A man who thinks a solution is taxing above ambient temperature pasties is beyond help

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    I would like him to tell us when he is going to be replaced by someone that knows what they are doing.

    I hate the way he smirks like JR out of dallas as if he,s getting one over on the little people. (makes me want to slap him).

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    "...and finally this Government intends to return all forces from Iraq and Afghanistan who are serving there due to the mad actions of McBlair.
    Those service personnel will be deployed on UK streets rounding up the 500'000 illegal immigrants allowed into the UK by New Labour under Gordon McBrown..."

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    What will be in the statement. People should support the economy more by buying locally made stuff. People should accept that by buying local they will get less for their money. People need to see that you can't have low prices and high wages. The NHS will charge for self-inflicted conditions and all child benefits removed. No more housing benefits. People should pay for their lifestyle choices.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Mansion tax.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    I would like him to say the retirement age has been reduced back to 65 and the money Blair and Brown borrowed from the pension pot to fund the Iraq invasion has be restored with interest,
    but hey we can dream
    and some tax relief for full time workers earning less than £20 k would be good.
    (full time = more than 30 hours a week in my book)

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Why is so much hope placed in housing construction? When they're built they're built; their buyers are in further debt and construction workers on the dole again.
    Steady jobs create consumer confidence. We need to be manufacturing cars, appliances, furniture etc with a 5-10 year built-in obsolescence. We need to be recycling any economic stimulus, not sending it to Asia.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    Maybe he should say that punishing the poor is getting boring, and he is going to turn his vigorous attention to the rich now.
    It really was typical that it was announced, on the same day, that the govt had scrapped the idea of a "mansion tax", and that they needed to garner another £10 billion from public spending.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Lots of words that mean different things. Everyone will then interpret it as they see fit.


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