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

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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

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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

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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 874.

    848.chrislabiff -" It really doesn't matter - what is said and what will happen are different worlds."
    100% Spot on.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Or, to be more accurate: who governs the government? Answer: no-one.

    The majority of employees who fail so spectacularly in their role would have been sacked for incompetence by now; how does George get away with it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 873.

    I would sell all Government buildings, transportation, parliament, and replace it all with bicycles and portacabins. I would stop this unfair benefits business, its about time employers paid for their workers, not the taxpayers, I would stop the rich robbing the UK tax system, and support the economy by funding some infrastructure and housing programs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 872.

    Tax breaks (or even subsidies) for manufacturing industry; deficit made up by closing corporate loopholes; a windfall tax on the Starbucks/Amazon type worst offenders.

    By manufacturing industry, I mean cars, white goods, machinery, valves etc. That'll get large numbers of people into work, increasing tax revenue.

    All growing economies (China, Brazil et al.) are based on manufacturing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 871.

    No more house building use the over million empty ones. Green belt is being used by planners/councillors in Devon against wishes causing floods. Dont sell council office blocks convert to 1/2 bed council flats. Stop treating those not entitled in our NHS,get money back from countries concerned. Fam allowance for 2 kids only,none for immigrants sending abroad,higher tax for 3 or more kids.

  • rate this

    Comment number 870.

    Ref the much signposted tax relief reduction on pension contributions.
    The public sector does not need to make those contributions at all - it enjoys gold plated final salary schemes, guaranteed, protected, with no stock market risk, a perk now worth 35% of salary.
    Nice if you can get it, the rest of us are penalised - again

  • rate this

    Comment number 869.

    How is google, amazon, starbucks, thames water be counted as exports except by the most creative of accounting? Maybe there is a case to be argued about Amazon, however since China/US/Germany/France are investigating their tax situation I think the UK should push to do so as well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 868.

    His resignation! Which is unlikely. So failing that how about a commitment to re-sitting his GCSE Maths and Economics, and standing up for British business's. Why are our "leaders" so scared of the multi nationals? Oh! Just realized. If they annoy them they won't get their lucrative directorships or consultancy gigs when they leave politics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 867.

    Abolish Corporation Tax and double VAT.

  • rate this

    Comment number 866.

    His resignation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 865.

    Compulsory pay rises for all linked to inflation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 864.

    Q You have two cabinet ministers one is a posh boy ex Bullingdon Club member whose only work experience is towel stacking at Selfridges.

    The other has a PHD in Economics and was chief economist for Shell
    Guess which ones chancellor?

    Answers To
    "You're having a laugh "
    Tory Spin Central ,
    La La Towers,
    Dream Land.
    On Another Planet

  • rate this

    Comment number 863.

    What should be in the chancellor's Autumn Statement?

    'Dear all UK nationals,
    For a refreshing change, I'm going to do right by the people of our nation. I will unburden your pockets, by making sure those tax loopholes for the mega wealthy and corporations are closed tightly so that you can eat again'!

    AAaaahhh. . . . . .. Sigh. . . . .Nice thought

  • rate this

    Comment number 862.

    Aside from his much-needed resignation... it should reflect the majority of households in the UK: prioritise family needs, cut-back on unnecessary spending, focus on the deficit, maximise what savings we have, only nuy what you can afford.
    I don't believe in penalising the wealthy, per se, but taxing the middle-earners into financial difficulty isn't the answer either. Corp tax review, anyone?

  • rate this

    Comment number 861.

    Cut tax avoidance for Limited Companies (legal or not)
    Out should go
    1) PAYE avoidance - ruse to pay NONE or the min possible National Insurance
    2) payment of dividends instead of salaries - tax levels at 20% not 40 or
    3) claiming VAT back on FUEL and offsetting ENERGY costs against TAXES (Private Employees can't)
    4) 'BUY TO LET' property loan INTEREST offset against Corporation Tax

  • rate this

    Comment number 860.

    His resignation?

  • rate this

    Comment number 859.

    Does the Chancellor want our advice?

    Only if 'trending'? Otherwise in prayer?

    Compelled in own & others' impotence

    For all who have ears that might hear

    To register the presence, still, of hope

    To remind of the exactions of Mammon

    To afford glimpses of The Alternative

    Very different from all-shade Inequality

    Hope only in Agreed Equal Partnership

  • rate this

    Comment number 858.

    174.engineer-neil - ".......Remember, it's excessive public spending by the left wing that put us in this dire mess in the first place!!"

    What utter rot - everyone, except the willfully blind, knows that it was thr global financial crash, caused by greedy, under regluated, globalised banks that caused the mess......

  • rate this

    Comment number 857.

    coram-populo @836
    Advice to the Chancellor

    Has here to be delivered in a constricting 400ch, and any context from previous posts (of self or others) is often a labour to reach, not infrequently impossible

    Sorry if some points not taken. Happy to take interested questions

    USP, equal income-share security:
    Own equal freedom, speech & action
    Partners to be trusted

    Otherwise, free only to protest?

  • rate this

    Comment number 856.

    The chancellors statement should start with-

    I'm sorry I failed. I'll be resigning following this statement

  • rate this

    Comment number 855.

    831.Batty - "Free pies :-)"

    What about some VAT free pasties...??!


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