Autumn Statement 2012: As it happened

Key Points

  • George Osborne said austerity measures would continue a year longer to 2018, but Britain was "heading in the right direction"
  • Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the government had failed and the average family was £20,000 worse off since it came to power in 2010
  • Some benefits will rise less than the rate of inflation and higher earners will have to pay more tax on pension savings
  • The 3p rise in fuel duty planned for January has been cancelled
  • The main rate of corporation tax will fall from 22% to 21% from April 2014
  • An extra £1bn will be spent on road improvement schemes and the Business Bank will get £1bn to try to boost growth

    Welcome to our coverage of the chancellor's Autumn Statement. It is the second biggest economic event of his calendar after the main Budget in the spring.


    The main story of the day is bound to be a gloomy economic one. George Osborne will tell the Commons that growth will be slower and borrowing higher than the government had hoped, meaning austerity measures will have to last longer.


    The chancellor has briefed ministers on the Autumn Statement at a Cabinet meeting in Downing Street this morning. On Tuesday they were told of plans for additional investment in transport, skills, science and schools, paid for by a squeeze on how much some government departments can spend.

    0937: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    tweets: Chancellor tells cabinet - "we are on the right track and making progress" #bbceconomy


    Steel yourself for lots of talk of deficit and debt targets. The chancellor set himself two rules when the coalition government took over in 2010 about reducing government borrowing. And he may not be able to meet either of them. As BBC economics editor Stephanie Flanders put it, "we will probably find out today that he has literally nothing to show for nearly three years of austerity".


    We are also expecting to hear about measures targeting higher earners as well as a squeeze on benefits. However, this is a different beast to the main spring Budget so there will be no red box or alcohol duty rises. What can we expect from this statement? Read our guide here.


    What do analysts and pressure groups think George Osborne should be saying in his statement? Read some of their viewpoints here.


    We'd love to hear what you think the chancellor should do to try to boost growth and help hard-pressed families. Text us on 61124 or tweet us using the hashtag #bbceconomy.

    0957: Michael Cawood from Wrexham, Wales

    emails: Cuts in government spending should translate into tax cuts, not moving the spending to other areas. Taxes are far too high in Britain.

    0958: George Eaton, Editor of the New Statesman's Staggers blog

    tweets: Worth remembering that Autumn Statement was never intended to become a second Budget. But it has because growth has been so weak.


    One of the most used terms today will be deficit. It is the shortfall between the tax revenue the government receives and what it spends. The government had planned to balance the books in five years, but it might take nearer eight, we understand.

    1007: Andy Price from Llandrindod Wells, Powys

    emails: The high streets need to be selling again, so cut VAT, encourage people to spend. This will pass on to jobs being created by manufacturers to meet demand. There are too many part time jobs, people need full time employment that gives them adequate money to spend in our high streets.

    1011: Stephen Mosley MP

    tweets: Busy day ahead in the Chamber. PMQs, Autumn Statement + then Police Conduct Bill to allow IPCC to investigate police over Hillsborough


    The Office for Budget Responsibility is expected to downgrade its forecasts for growth in figures to be released alongside Mr Osborne's statement.

    1015: Stephanie Flanders Economics editor

    says: Even on the most optimistic assumptions, the OBR is going to tell the chancellor that the structural hole he set out to fix is actually larger, now, than when he took office.


    Labour MP John Mann says the government needs to boost the economy by launching big infrastructure and house building projects. He also says it should stop cutting frontline emergency staff such as nurses and police officers as they spend in local economies.

    1019: Stuart Mcloughlin from Bristol

    emails: The fuel duty should be lowered, if anything, to increase people's spending power and get the economy moving.


    Keeping with how to boost growth, the Federation of Small Businesses is calling for details are on how the Business Bank would work to encourage lending. Four out of ten small businesses say they don't have the right access to finances.

    Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    tweets: Prime Minister leaves No 10. Ignores question on whether we are facing more austerity


    The British Chambers of Commerce says it wants to see massive investment in road, rail, airports "and actually set out a timescale for the delivery of it - privately financed, not by debt".

    1028: Karen Urwin from Birmingham

    texts: If the Chancellor wants to encourage new businesses he needs to get rid of the ridiculous insistence on all businesses providing a pension. We'd all love a company pension but new, small businesses can't afford it, and will go under.

    1029: Victoria

    texts: The chancellor should levy a tax on bankers' bonuses and make the top earners pay higher tax, not scrap the top rate of tax or reduce it. They should increase it, and introduce more tiers of income tax, not less.

    1030: David Cameron

    tweets: Chancellor has briefed Cabinet on Autumn Statement - we are on the right track and making progress.

    1033: Dan Devaney, Clifton, Bedfordshire

    emails: I don't understand how we can justify sending so much money overseas in aid. Surely at a time when people are struggling in this country aid should start at home?

    1034: Leanne Gorvett from Merseyside

    emails: I don't know how much more I can take in cuts. I'm a single parent working for the NHS on a low salary. I'm barely getting by, I can hardly afford food. I need something to reduce in price, I hope that petrol doesn't go up anymore, I can hardly afford to drive to work as it is.


    Thanks for all of your comments so far. Remember if you are tweeting to include the hashtag #bbceconomy


    The Minister for Skills, Matt Hancock, says the government is facing the fact it has a debt problem. "We've got to both pay down our debt and make sure our economy is ready and competitive. Because there are countries out there, in China, in India... who are hungry and are ambitious. And we've got to make sure our country's prepared as well," he says.


    Don't get your deficits and debt mixed up. The deficit is the shortfall between what is coming in and going out of the government's coffers. How much it is in the red every year. Whereas debt is the sum of all outstanding borrowing.


    Politicians are fond of the credit card analogy to explain the country's deficit and debt problem. The chancellor has basically promised to cut the amount he puts on the country's credit card every year (the deficit). But the total amount on it will still keep rising for years to come (debt).

    1046: Ros Altman, Saga

    tweets: #AutumnStatement- Chancellor says watch out for surprises. I certainly hope they won't be like the Budget 'granny tax' shock

    1047: Alex Anderson, Northampton

    emails: This autumn statement is merely going to be another case of Osborne sticking the boot into the working poor, the unemployed and anyone who relies on welfare to make ends meet.

    1050: Tom from Manchester

    texts: We need to reduce the aide money haemorrhaging out of the country . This money should go towards building our own economy again. Charity begins at home.


    Lord Oakeshott, former Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, says: "Net lending by the banks is going down to small business and so they can't take on workers, they can't grow. And the other black hole is construction. The number of houses completed last year was the lowest since 1923 in peacetime."

    1054: geoff.patrick

    tweets: @bbc_haveyoursay In these austerity times how is it the Government ministers are running around in a new fleet of Jag's and Range Rovers?

    1055: Richard Westover, Tonbridge

    emails: Get the welfare bill down. I realise there are legitimate cases where the state should be helping people. However, too many people are now taking advantage of the system and see staying at home on benefits and having children as a career choice.


    Still on that welfare debate, Lib Dem president Tim Farron says he expects benefits may be adjusted by less than the rate of inflation. He says this is "unavoidable" but the rich should shoulder the biggest burden.

    1104: Mike Smithson, Political Betting

    tweets: Why do we have the Autumn statement in the middle of the winter?


    To answer Mike's question, we checked with the Met Office and it says winter started on December 1 for meteorologists, while for astronomers winter begins on the winter solstice, which this year lands on 21 December. Take your pick.


    In the City, Mike Ingram, an analyst at BGC partners, says he is not expecting a change in direction from the chancellor as he doesn't want to worry the credit rating agencies and bond markets. He says the City would react to an increase to the annual levy on banks with "weary resignation" and it was "bad news they will just have to wear".

    1110: Clive Cayford

    emails: Increase the minimum wage to allow low paid families to have a disposable income that they can spend in the local community, thereby adding value to their properties and putting money into local trades and retailers.

    1112: Ellen J. Miller

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Cut VAT, cut Fuel Duty, let people have the money to spend back into the economy. Squeeze? The economy chokes. #bbceconomy

    1113: Michael Savage, The Times

    tweets: Coalition bods were confident at conferences they had a deal on welfare cuts/tax on wealth. Wonder if Libs have now gone for income #as2012


    There had been rumours that some more benefits would be frozen, but it looks like the Lib Dems vetoed that during "protracted negotiations" at Nick Clegg's home two weeks ago. A small rise is now expected - less than inflation.

    1117: Ryan Gough

    tweets: @bbc_haveyoursay Be nice today if govt realised best people to pay debts are those who have money rather than those who don't

    1118: Kevin Peachey Personal finance reporter, BBC News

    tweets: If chancellor mentions benefits, we already know state pension to rise by min 2.5% (£2.69 a week) in April owing to govt rule


    Conservative MP David Ruffley, a member of the Treasury Committee, says the chancellor's credibility will depend on outlining details of infrastructure plans - for rail, roads and gas plants - which are ready to be built. "In last 12 months construction has not gone up. If we can get infrastructure going we can get growth going," he says.


    On that point, we are expecting George Osborne to announce new road projects, but Labour's Rachel Reeves says that none of the road schemes talked about in last year's Autumn Statement have been started yet.

    1123: Jim Fitzpatrick BBC NI economics and business editor

    tweets: Public spending is big news in Northern Ireland. The region received £10.5 billion more last year than it paid. £5,850 per head.

    1124: Chris, Blackburn

    emails: As someone with a good (but not astronomical) income I find myself paying 40% tax, 8% NI and 22% into the NHS pension scheme, so for a significant proportion of my income I am having 70% deducted. I am not pleading poverty but neither am I a mug which is why I am in the process of reducing my hours. Might as well enjoy the time off rather than work for next to nothing.


    According to the latest polling by YouGov, George Osborne will deliver the Autumn Statement with the Conservatives significantly behind Labour in the polls. Labour are on 44%, 14 percentage points ahead of the Tories on 30%.


    Here's a quick rundown of the events to come this afternoon. Prime Minister's Questions will start at 12:00GMT, then the chancellor will deliver his Autumn Statement at 12:30GMT. Ed Balls will respond for Labour. Watch it all live online here.


    In Stoke-on-Trent, pottery company Wedgwood says it would like to see anything that supports exports to try to make them more competitive. Its chief finance officer, Anthony Jones, says the firm had secured a £5m grant as part of the last round of the regional growth fund.

    1133: Chris MacFarlane

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Carers Allowance needs to be increased - people like me who care for someone 24/7 on just £55 a week - DISGUSTING!

    1135: Sophy Ridge, Sky News

    tweets: Cabinet met for an hour for Osborne briefing ahead of Autumn Statement. Message was: Britain on the right track & gvt dealing with deficit

    1135: Rob Merric from Kent

    texts: Recently started a new business and the one tax that hurt the most and prevented growth was the employers NI. One year tax break would have meant we would have created at least 12 more jobs in first year trading.

    1138: Darren Clare

    tweets: @bbc_haveyoursay it's time the government looked at reducing foreign aid and put the money back into the UK economy


    With around an hour to go until he appears in the Commons, the chancellor is preparing to tell MPs that the government is facing a longer-than-expected battle to tackle its debts. Or as our political editor, Nick Robinson puts it, "austerity for longer, targets missed, taxes up, spending squeezed".

    1142: Allegra Stratton Political editor, BBC Newsnight

    tweets: Much discussion in my inbox on what will be Osborne's rabbit. Uber-coalition discipline suggests something ahoy.. Upping tax free allowance?

    1145: Eylem, Ashstead

    emails: Why not target the big companies who makes millions and millions but pays next to nothing tax instead of cutting the welfare for poor and increasing the tax for the hard working middle class?


    Chancellor George Osborne and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander have just left the Treasury. They got into a car, both clutching copies of the Autumn Statement.

    1150: Robert Peston Business editor

    tweets: Can the Chancellor save UK's AAA rating today? Investors tell me AAA is impossible to salvage,. will go in new year #bbceconomy

    1151: Tim, Portsmouth

    emails: Osborne says "Britain is on right track". Well he would do wouldn't he? He isn't struggling to make ends meet like most people are. Politicians never admit to failure.

    1152: Tim Shipman from the Daily Mail

    tweets: George Osborne's autumn statement in short: 'We're screwed but Balls would make it worse.'


    Alison Emery, a mum of two from Ulverston in South Cumbria, tells the BBC she's really hoping the chancellor freezes fuel duty. Her husband has to drive to work and can hardly afford to fill up. He can't get a job closer to home.

    1158: Mike Gill, Londonderry

    emails: To all the anti-welfare complaining people. This economic situation has caused nothing but job losses and especially in my city every new job is hard fought for with thousands of applicants applying each time. So loads of people have no choice of having to cope with living on benefits. Which is not easy.

    1202: Nick Robinson Political editor

    tweets: Imagine if told Chancellor 2 yrs ago - you'll be announcing you're missing original debt & deficit targets, cutting deeper & hiking taxes

    1202: James Evans

    tweets: George Osborne is trending already ... here we go then ...


    David Cameron opens Prime Minister's Questions by congratulating the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the news they are expecting a baby.

    1203: Paul Waugh Editor,

    tweets: Nick Clegg is wearing a red tie. Cam a blue one. Are they trying to tell us something?

    1205: Chris Ship, ITV News

    tweets: Nice change for PM to issue congratulations rather than sorrow at top of #pmqs (Kate/Wills)

    1205: Robert Peston Business editor

    tweets: How will biz react to GO? Happy coz boost to investment, or grumpy coz new expensive limits on pensions saving for high earners #bbceconomy


    Back in the City, Bronwyn Curtis of HSBC says she will be focusing on what the chancellor has to say on growth forecasts. "We know they will revise down growth for this year and next year but will they get back to trend growth, 2.3% by 2015? If it doesn't the finances start to look a bit dicey and then, if it doesn't look like it is credible, the ratings agencies might get involved and it might be a downgrade of UK PLC," she says.


    In the Commons, David Cameron and Ed Miliband are debating whether NHS spending has gone up or down.


    Mr Cameron says NHS spending was £104.2bn in 2010, and £104.3bn in 2011. Mr Miliband won't accept there has been a rise, though, however small.


    The Labour leader says the government has failed to meet the Conservative Party's manifesto pledge to increase spending on the NHS in real terms in every year of the Parliament.

    Media village at Westminster

    Meanwhile, outside the Commons, the media village in Westminster prepares for the afternoon's coverage, under sunny, if chilly, skies.


    On the pros and cons of taxing higher earners, David Cameron says Labour's 50p tax rate cost the economy £7bn in lost tax revenue, saying "raising money, not punishing success", is the key.


    Ed Miliband says the government is giving everyone earning over £1m a year a tax cut of £107,000 a year next April.

    1215: Tom

    texts: Increase high earners tax rates and spend revenue on affordable housing and educating young people.

    1216: Tom Bradby, ITV News

    tweets: PMQs is increasingly just an argument about statistics.

    1218: Paul Mason

    tweets: I expect the "surprise" to be some kind of strategic investment fund or vehicle.


    For the background to that NHS spending row, see our story here.

    1219: Sam Whitehead, Exeter

    emails: Aged 20, I have never really watched Prime Minister's Questions before and they are like a bunch of school children. Oh dear.

    1220: Kevin Maguire Daily Mirror associate editor

    tweets: Osborne's cut in the high earner 50p tax rate on £150k+ is a ticking time bomb primed to explode in his face this April


    Labour MP Margaret Beckett challenges the PM on child poverty, saying he promised in 2010 there would be no increase despite the deficit reduction plan. David Cameron says the government has targeted tax credits at the poorest families.

    1220: Sophy Ridge, Sky News

    tweets: A good performance at #pmqs for David Cameron - but it may all be forgotten after the Autumn Statement.

    1221: Ian Dale

    tweets: One of the worst performances by Ed Miliband at PMQs for months. Open goal and he hits the corner flag.

    1222: Tom Bradby ITV News political editor

    tweets: If the top rate of tax is about raising money, it is not clear it works. If it is about morality, why won't Ed M promise to restore it?

    1223: Brian, Surrey Heath

    emails: David Cameron desperate to look good but failing. Why doesn't he admit facts when he is wrong instead of trying to deflect questions. Only politics can make it sound good that the rich gets richer while the poor suffer.


    Labour's Margaret Hodge welcomes government undertakings to do more to stop big companies from avoiding paying UK tax. As head of the Public Accounts Committee, she said this week that it was an "insult" to UK businesses for some global firms to pay so little tax.


    She says coffee chain Starbucks has caved in to public pressure and announced it is to review it's UK tax arrangements, showing that "naming and shaming" works. We may here more on this subject in the Autumn Statement in a few minutes' time.


    Just a few minutes to go to and Green groups say they are not optimistic about the contents of the statement. "The chancellor's already shown his flagrant disregard for a clean economy," says David Powell, economics campaigner, Friends of the Earth.


    Margaret Hodge asks the PM if he will commit to publishing the names of companies found by HMRC to have avoided paying tax. David Cameron thanks her for her "warm words" of support and says the government is committed to doing all it can to ensure companies pay their taxes properly.


    David Cameron in action at PMQs.


    Challenged on student finance, David Cameron says the government has a method for financing the UK's universities, while Labour "doesn't have a clue".


    We'll be bringing you all of the main points of the chancellor's Autumn Statement shortly. The speech is a key update on the state of the economy and government finances. Send us what you think of the measures announced. If you are tweeting use the hashtag #bbceconomy


    Returning to tax paid by business, David Cameron says the government has recovered an extra £4bn in tax in the last four years by cracking down on the "strange practices" used by some companies to minimise their UK incomes and thus avoid tax. It is aware there is more that can be done, he says.


    Our correspondents are out around the country getting your thoughts. Wade Rowlett, a building merchant in Grantham, tells the BBC the chancellor should give more money to his industry. "You never cut construction to get out of a recession," he says. "It's a proven fact that if you invest in construction the confidence that it gives... is really quite significant."


    In the Commons, the PM says the way to ensure large multinationals pay their fair share of tax is to have low UK tax rates while making sure firms declare their incomes properly.


    George Osborne is on his feet and begins his statement.


    There are jeers as George Osborne says, "Our economy is healing."


    George Osborne says, "the deficit has fallen by a quarter in just two years. And today's figures show it is forecast to continue to fall".


    "It is a hard road but we are getting there and Britain is on the right track," says Mr Osborne amid more jeers, before Speaker John Bercow calls the House to order.


    Investment is flowing into UK gilts instead of flying from them, Osborne says.


    The forecast for debt interest payments is £33bn lower than it was predicted to be two years ago, which is equal to the entire defence budget, the chancellor says.


    The Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts the economy will shrink by 0.1% this year.


    The OBR says problems in eurozone will "constrain growth for several years to come".


    The Office for Budget Responsibility is the independent body set up by the government to produce economic forecasts and monitor its progress - it will give further details on its forecasts later.


    Here are their numbers on growth: The OBR forecasts the economy will shrink by 0.1% this year, then grow by 1.2% next year, then 2.0% in 2014, 2.3% in 2015, 2.7% in 2016 and 2.8% in 2017.

    Stephanie Flanders Economics editor

    tweets: Note long explanation for no growth: crucial to Chancellor that OBR doesn't blame him or believe he cd have predicted. Others may differ.


    Those forecasts, as expected, are worse than the predictions it made at the time of the March Budget.

    1245: Tom Bradby Political editor, ITV News

    tweets: Growth forecasts pretty disastrous compared to budget predictions in March. Massive downgrades.


    The economic contraction of 2008-09 was deeper than previously thought with GDP shrinking by 6.3% - the largest shock since World War II , Mr Osborne says.

    1246: Cathy Newman Channel 4 News

    tweets: George Osborne: "It's not my fault" seems to sum up #autumnstatement so far

    1248: Paul Mason Economics editor, Newsnight

    tweets: Osborne: deficit forecast to fall this year. Cash borrowing also. Deficit will be 1.6% in 2017-18. Breaches Conservative Manifesto promise


    The deficit - the gap between what the government spends and what it receives in tax revenue etc - is forecast to fall from 7.9% last year to 6.9% this year, then 6.1%, 5.2%, 4.2%, and 2.6%, reaching 1.6% in 2017-18.

    1249: Nigel Farage UKIP leader

    tweets: Whilst it's good that the deficit is falling we're still adding to our national debt and burdening our children and grandchildren with our spending


    "The road is hard, but we are making progress, " George Osborne says.

    1250: Kieran from Wiltshire

    texts: Does any body ever get predictions right? Why even bother at this point?

    1251: Nick Robinson Political editor

    tweets: Deficit & borrowing falling despite forecasts that it would rise. Am told that Treasury only learnt surprise figs last week

    1251: Breaking News

    The chancellor says the OBR agrees that the government is "on course" to meet its target of balancing the budget over a five-year period - that is it has a better than 50% chance of doing so.

    1252: Nick Gatside, Brighton

    emails: The Chancellor appears to be seeking to blame the current lack of growth on anything or anyone but the government's lack of a growth strategy. Isn't it time he took some measure of responsibility?


    Here are those numbers relating to one of two of the chancellor's big targets: Net debt as a percentage of economic output is forecast to be 74.7% this year, then 76.8% next year, then 79%, 79.9%, 79.2% in later years, reaching 77.3% in 2017/18.

    1254: Nick Robinson Political editor

    tweets: Deficit & borrowing falling despite forecasts that it would rise. Am told that Treasury only learnt surprise figs last week


    Public spending plans have resulted in a lower deficit and "we are going to stick with those plans", Osborne says.

    1255: Stephanie Flanders Economics editor

    tweets: Osborne confirms interesting feature of past 3 yrs: govt has delivered on spending plans despite worse than expected economy.


    The chancellor says austerity measures up to the end of 2016 will consist of a mix of 20% tax rises and 80% cuts, as planned. Total spending will fall in that final year of this Parliament, as planned, he says.

    1257: Paul Mason Economics editor, Newsnight

    tweets: Spending Review is to be early 2013. Mark the date: that will write the manifestos of the Cons and Lib Dems

    1257: Stephanie Flanders Economics editor

    tweets: govt will fulfil promise to spend 0.7% on Foreign aid - but not a penny more. means lower Dfid budget #BBCeconomy

    1258: Michael Savage, The Times

    tweets: Gove again teacher's pet as death knell sounded for national wage bargaining for teachers.


    The share of national income spent by the state to will fall from 48% of GDP in 2009/10 to 39.5% in 2017/18, George Osborne says.


    The chancellor announces a £1bn loan and a guarantee to extend the Northern Line to Battersea Power Station and support a new development on "a similar scale to the Olympic Park".

    1300: Tim Shipman Daily Mail deputy political editor

    tweets: First big surprise. National pay bargaining for teachers sounds like it's on the way out

    1302: Nick from Brighton

    texts: Having enough trouble paying off my own debts so having to now do my bit to help pay off the Government debt is a bitter pill to swallow.

    1302: Iain Groves

    emails: I wish the chancellor would speak in plain English (and indeed those reporting), I want to know, how much (in pounds) was the debt when he took over, how much is it now, how much did he borrow last year, how much did he borrow this year, how much of the repayment is interest only and how much is reducing the principle....


    George Osborne promises a replacement for the "discredited" PFI scheme, under which he says it is now recognised the public sector shared some of the risk. Under the new scheme to upgrade infrastructure the public sector will also "share the reward".


    An extra £1bn is to be spent on roads, including major upgrade schemes. This includes four major new schemes to upgrade key sections of the A1, bringing the route from London to Newcastle up to motorway standard, link the A5 with the M1, dual the A30 in Cornwall and upgrade the M25.

    1303: Abigail Scott Paul

    tweets: A1 investment = good news for the #North #autumnstatement @ipprnorth


    The chancellor is moving on to taxes for "the rich".

    1305: Robert Peston Business editor

    tweets: GO: we expect to receive £5 billion over the next 6 years from the undisclosed Swiss bank accounts of UK residents. #bbceconomy


    "We won't introduce a new tax on property," the chancellor promises.

    1307: Michael Savage The Times political correspondent

    tweets: Bashing the rich - no new tax on property. But pensions hit - lifetime allowance down and £1bn raised by 2016. Lib Dem sort of win.


    Whitehall department resource budgets are to be cut by 1% next year and 2% in 2014, with the NHS and schools exempted. Local government budgets will be cut by 2% in 2014.


    On to benefits now. State pensions will be £110.15 per week.


    The new universal credit will mean it "always pays to work".


    More details on those taxes for higher earners: The chancellor says tax relief on the largest pensions will be reduced from 2014-15. The lifetime allowance will be reduced from £1.5m to £1.25m and the annual allowance from £50,000 to £40,000 - a move widely predicted. This will save £1bn a year he says.


    Those restrictions on pensions tax relief is £1bn tax increase for high earners, says BBC business editor Robert Peston.

    1310: Nick Robinson Political editor

    tweets: Clegg shakes head as Chancellor dismisses calls for a mansion tax Raids pension tax relief instead


    BBC personal finance correspondent Ian Pollock points out that the chancellor says there will be no "net" rises in taxes. This means that while some may rise, while others go down.

    1313: 80srewind

    tweets: @bbc_haveyoursay Cuts should be made to MP's pay, expenses and generous pensions. As always, it's a case of do as I say not as I do...!!!


    International aid will reach the government's target of 0.7% of gross national income next year, but will not rise above that level , the chancellor says.


    More details on those benefit changes: Some benefits will rise below inflation. Carer benefits and disability benefits, including disability elements of tax credits, will be increased in line with inflation.


    However, most working age benefits including Job Seeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Income Support - will be uprated by 1% for the next three years - less than the current rate of inflation which is above 2%.

    1316: Michael, York

    emails: George Osborne as just put single people on benefit in to making the choice between eating and heating.

    1316: JoeArber

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay very interesting, looks like there is going to be alot of progress made to the roads.

    1316: Patrick Wintour Political editor, the Guardian

    tweets: It appears on surface Lib dems have agreed big welfare benefits squeeze well into next parliament.

    1317: Adam Boulton Political editor, Sky News

    tweets: The Benefits below inflation increase is the big one - how will it play?

    1317: Stephanie Flanders Economics editor

    tweets: Working & non-working people on tax credits/benefits getting the same 1% treatment. So most of £ saved probably from working people


    Back to those infrastructure projects - the HS2 high speed rail link is to be extended to North West and West Yorkshire.

    1318: Robert Peston Business editor

    tweets: Osborne backs basics of Heseltine's plan to devolve much spending on biz, transport, skills etc to regions


    The threshold for paying the 40% rate of income tax is to rise by 1% in 2014 and 2015 from £41,450 to £41,865 and then £42,285. The chancellor said this would raise revenue as the increase was not in line with inflation.


    The main rate of corporation tax to fall from 22% to 21% from April 2014 - the lowest rate of any major Western economy. George Osborne says this sends out the message: "Come here, create jobs here, Britain is open for business."

    1319: Hugh Pym Chief economics correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: Boost for business with big increase in investment allowance and 1pc cut in corporation tax


    The 3p rise in fuel duty scheduled for this January is cancelled, Mr Osborne says.


    Funding to assist building of up to 120,000 homes, the chancellor promises.


    More tax announcements: From next April, the personal allowance will rise by a further £235 meaning that you can earn £9,440 before paying any income tax at all.


    "People working full-time on minimum wage will have seen their income tax bill cut by half, " George Osborne says.


    The chancellor has sat down after speaking for 50 minutes.


    Shadow chancellor Ed Balls is responding. He says: "National debt is rising, it is not falling," He says ordinary people are being hit hardest.

    1325: Gaby Hinsliff Political commentator

    tweets: the anti-fuel tax lobby now must go down as one of most successful campaigns in modern politics. & most expensive, to public purse


    The full Autumn Statement documents are now live on the Treasury website, with all the details of the chancellor's new measures.


    Ed Balls says that over the past two years, the chancellor was expecting 4.6% growth but has achieved only 0.6% growth, with Britain "falling behind in the global race".


    We were hoping to get more details of the growth and borrowing forecasts, but the OBR website isn't working. The independent forecasters will give more information at a news conference in about an hour.


    Mr Balls is not happy there is not more detail, it seems. "The chancellor failed to give us the cash figures adjusted for borrowing for this year, next year, the year after," he says.


    The chancellor's statement shows there will be more borrowing this year, next year, the year after, which means higher national debt, Ed Balls says.


    George Osborne "is not wavering, he's drowning", Ed Balls says.

    1332: Nick Robinson Political editor

    tweets: "Bad news" - deeper spending cuts, benefits squeeze even for those in work, tax free pension contributions cut

    1332: Nick Robinson Political editor

    tweets: "Good news" - petrol tax rise scrapped, personal tax allowance up, investment increased


    The reaction to the speech is starting to come in. Oxfam says the benefits cuts mean it is those in the "squashed bottom" who will "feel the biggest pinch". It says the government should be going further in clamping down on tax avoidance "rather than making the poorest people foot the bill for economic failure".


    There is much jeering in the Commons as Ed Balls congratulates Mr Osborne for "taking our advice" and freezing the fuel duty rise.


    Ed Balls lambasts the chancellor, saying: "He's failed on growth and deficit and what's his answer? More of the same."


    Just to recap on the economic news from the chancellor: The Office for Budget Responsibility predicts that the economy will shrink by 0.1% this year - much worse than it predicted in the March Budget. Growth will be slower than previously forecast over the next five years. That means the austerity measures have been extended for another year, to the end of 2018.


    The government is "on course" in the words of the OBR, to meet its target of balancing the budget over a five-year period. It is going to miss its target to get total debt as a proportion of the national income falling by 2016, however. That target is now more likely to be hit a year later in 2017.


    For a full round-up of what the chancellor announced in his speech, have a look at our at-a-glance guide here.

    1348: Martin Aspey from Warrington

    texts: Thanks George. A £130 income tax cut and a £50 per year gift by not raising fuel duty. That more than makes up for my £2000 per year cut in child benefit!

    1348: Stephanie Flanders Economics editor

    tweets: Contrary to IFS, mine & others' expectations, OBR had decided the structural hole now smaller than in April. Change of model?


    BBC economics editor Stephanie Flanders is scratching her head over how borrowing for this year can be falling, despite the fact it was widely expected to rise.


    So, what does this Autumn Statement, which many view as a mini Budget and benefit and tax changes, mean for your personal finances? We will try to help you make sense of the chancellor's announcement with our Q&A here.


    The increases in the thresholds for the 40% income tax band will also be below inflation so if you're in the 40% band you'll see a real rise in your taxes, says the BBC's Andrew Neil.

    1355: Al in Aberdeen

    texts: Autumn statement - so he's raising the 40% threshold slightly after slashing it in previous years. Gee, thanks George.


    Anti-poverty charity War on Want says nothing in the statement tackles the "enormous scale of corporate tax avoidance" by companies like Starbucks and Google. "Instead, by just tinkering around the edges, Mr Osborne is sending a clear message that these big companies can keep avoiding tax. This is yet more hypocrisy from a government that is all too keen to talk tough on tax avoidance."


    On green issues, the statement included a consultation on tax breaks for the controversial exploration of shale gas. Friends of the Earth says: "The anti-green chancellor is making a mess of the economy, he mustn't be allowed to trample all over our environment too."


    BBC business editor Robert Peston says the big economic event has been the £3.5bn proceeds from of the government selling the 4G mobile phone spectrum. "If you strip that out he would have to have made much bigger cuts to public spending or put up taxes rather more." He says Labour had a similar windfall with 3G. Interestingly, they used it to reduce debt, not for spending,


    Even though the 4G auction hasn't happened yet, BBC economics editor Stephanie Flanders says the 2012-13 deficit figure has fallen - unexpectedly - because the government had decided to use the proceeds from the sale to reduce this year's borrowing.


    The Citizens Advice charity says benefits cuts will hit families already on financial edge due to the recession. "They will not just hit people who are out of work. It will also hurt working families in low paid jobs who have already been hit by wage freezes and cuts in working hours," chief executive Gillian Guy says.


    Responses from business groups have been mixed so far. The British Chambers of Commerce said Mr Osborne had taken "a number of positive steps" but was still "tinkering around the edges". Accountancy firm PwC says the statement was better for business than expected.


    Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander is defending the government measures: Since the financial crisis the incomes of people in work have increased by about 10%, while the incomes of those on benefits have gone up by 20%, he says.


    The British Chambers of Commerce says the chancellor failed to match the urgency of a recent statement from the prime minister that Britain was in the midst of an 'economic war'. Director general John Longworth says: "Three words need to be on every minister's lips - urgency, scale, and delivery."

    1420: Susannah Streeter Business reporter, BBC News

    tweets from a City dealing room: Bond markets reacting well to #AutumnStatement.


    The Office for Budget Responsibility website is up and running again for us. It has published its full report of its economic and fiscal outlook on its website, available in PDF format here, or in print at the cost £38.50.

    1422: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    tweets: Sources close to Chancellor say "It is our aspiration to make further savings in welfare budget".


    After Ed Balls referred to her recent appearance on ITV's I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here in the Commons earlier, Nadine Dorries MP tweets: "I'm quite insulted to have been quoted in such an appalling speech. #ballslostit"


    Some good news from the BBC reporter at the National Composite Centre at Bristol Bath Science Park. They have had confirmation they will get £28m to increase capacity, effectively doubling their size. Graham Harrison, business development officer, says: "It's fantastic news. We feel relieved. This is a reflection of our strong business case".


    Not so from unions, who say the statement shows the chancellor is "out of touch" with ordinary people. "The austerity agenda means that families across the country have even less to spend on everyday essentials, while tax winners at the top have more," says Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison.


    Meanwhile, Public and Commercial Services union general secretary Mark Serwotka says the plans are "miles off course". "Two years ago we said austerity wouldn't work and we were right. It didn't work then and it won't work now."

    1429: Robert Peston Business editor

    tweets: Danny Alexander tells me that keeping AAA credit rating is not be all and end all. Sounds as though he's written it off #bbceconomics


    Danny Alexander also tells us the Autumn Statement set out a "balanced" package, taking as much from the rich as the poor.


    Even the chancellor's transport to get to the Commons - no flashy ministerial Jag today - felt like a nod to the tough times, says BBC political correspondent Chris Mason in his analysis of the chancellor's Autumn Statement.

    1437: James Cook Scotland Correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: Scotland's finance secretary, John Swinney, has welcomed the chancellor's autumn statement.

    1439: Gillian Smith from Middlesbrough

    emails: Yet again Mr Osborne does NOTHING for families struggling to make ends meet and spends a fortune upgrading roads. Who gives a damn about roads! People in this country are STARVING. There was NO help for families but yet again the rich get rich and the poorer get poorer.


    BBC business reporter Laurence Knight has calculated that the £5bn increase in new capital spending, which will be spent on roads, new school buildings and superfast broadband by 2015, is the equivalent of £80 per person.

    1444: Chris Holland, Leeds

    emails: The government hid the fact the most of these amazing private sector jobs they have created are minimum wage part time jobs. Osborne hasn't a clue. This government seems to think it can do what it likes and just blame everyone one else when it doesn't work out.

    1445: Robin Brant, BBC News political correspondent

    tweets: first verdict from papers: london evening standard p1 splash 'osborne's 3 year benefits squeeze'. fuel duty gets small mention.


    Not much in the way of reaction from the financial markets so far. Stockmarkets in London are up slightly, but not by much. The BBC's Susannah Streeter in the City says the general feeling is one of relief that the UK is still on the path of austerity. Government bond yields, which indicate the UK's cost of borrowing, suggest no real concern to the delays in the debt reduction timetable.


    Matthew Reed, chief executive of the Children's Society, said the announcement of a below-inflation rise for benefits paid to poor working families, on top of the freeze on child benefit and working tax credit and cuts to housing support, would "directly punish children".

    1455: Robert Peston Business editor

    tweets: Biggest story of autumn statement seems to me to be 3 years of 1% rise in benefits & tax credits. Saves billions & strong political message


    Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee sees it like this: The way the economic pain is being shared is "singularly unfair", with four times more taken from the poorest tenth than the richest tenth, she says.

    1458: Glynn, Derby

    emails: Nothing has been said about the pay freeze for civil servants. We have not had a pay increase for the last four years. We are not well paid and are struggling to keep over heads above the water.


    While the Local Government Association will be protected from additional cuts next year, it says the extra 2% cut in 2014-15 is unsustainable. "Cutting council funding to help pay for nationally-administered economic stimulus programmes would be bad for local frontline services and makes no sense economically. Local government is one of the few parts of the public sector which actively promotes economic growth."

    1500: Nick Robinson Political editor

    tweets: Government claims hitting rich as much as poor BUT their figs include £s raised by cutting tax avoidance & raiding Swiss banks


    The head of the Office of Budget Responsibility, Robert Chote, is starting his news conference by reiterating its independence from government.


    Mr Chote says GDP growth has been much weaker than expected and the recovery "lacks momentum". But he says there is a huge question mark over all forecasts - the OBR's and everyone else's - because the outlook is so uncertain.


    On a brighter note, the UK labour market has continued to perform better than expected, says the OBR's Robert Chote.

    1511: Nick Robinson Political editor

    tweets: Head of IFS tells BBC "These are terrible numbers but we get used to how bad things are."

    1511: Fraser Nelson, Editor of The Spectator

    tweets: Nick Robinson is right: the economic forecasts are simply terrible. By 2015 we won't just still have a deficit but worst deficit in the West

    1512: Tom_0892

    posts: I'm tired of the Conservatives talking as if welfare and work are mutually exclusive, thousands if not millions of people are in low paid work and need state help to survive. Its about time the Tories stop stereotyping all people on benefits as lazy scroungers.

    1512: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    tweets a very different view on the subject he is hearing from a Conservative source: Tory loyalist tells me backbenchers "loved" one per cent benefit rise cap in autumn statement

    1523: Anita McConnell, Cambridge

    emails: As an old age pensioner with little other income, I am relieved that I am going to stay financially at about the same level. But what of the future? What about my bus pass? And will I ever see a rise in interest on my savings? And can I hope that VAT will not be increased?

    1523: Kevin Peachey Personal finance reporter, BBC News

    tweets: Treasury confirms that maternity, paternity and adoption pay ARE included in the benefits that will only rise by 1% in April.


    If anyone was doing a word cloud of Robert Chote's speech, "uncertainty" would certainly loom large. Interesting given that so much of the Autumn Statement focuses on forecasts for the economy over the next few years.

    1529: Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    A drop to 21% in UK corporation tax in 2014 raises question of how much more the SNP would like to cut, if it had the powers. #bbceconomy

    1533: Martyn Oates Political editor, South West

    Govt considering seeking EU approval for extension of island rural fuel rebate to "remote parts of UK with "similar cost characteristics".


    On the subject of word clouds, any guesses what the most mentioned word in George Osborne's 50-minute speech was? According to this word cloud from accountancy firm PwC it was "tax".


    An Ed Balls word cloud would no doubt feature the term "fail". "On every target they set themselves: Failing, failing and failing," the shadow chancellor said. Read our full story on Labour's response.


    Some £5bn of investment spending by 2015 was announced during the chancellor's speech, including £1bn on roads upgrades. Have a look here for our story on where that money will be spent.


    An extra £600m for UK scientific research, was announced by the chancellor. One of those receiving money, the National Composite Centre, told the BBC: "It will allow us to more than double our capacity to help businesses research and develop new ways to build their products using the very latest composite materials. And we will work closely with local universities to help train the engineers of the future."


    Business Secretary Vince Cable said the statement was a reminder of the severity of the problems the UK economy faced. "We've had a financial firestorm, there are severe problems in the eurozone and we're having to make do with that. We're doing it by concentrating on getting financial discipline in government, doing it in a fair way - making sure the wealthiest pay their share and doing sensible things to promote growth."

    1600: Jonathan Snelgrove, Ferndown, Dorset

    emails: When will the government address the huge disincentive for one parent in a family to stay at home and bring up their own children, thus supporting the "family values" that are so often bandied about? My wife stays at home to bring up our son. I earn around £60,000 per year so we will soon lose the £80 per month child benefit/family allowance.


    Youth homelessness charity Centrepoint says it is disappointed by the "limited effect" the announcements will have on tackling the affordable housing crisis. "The further cuts to working age benefits... are bad news for those young people who are desperately trying to find somewhere to live."


    Save the Children says despite the majority of children in poverty having working parents, many of them go without essentials as they do not earn enough. "Today's announcement on in and out of work benefits won't keep pace with increasing living costs and will push more families into poverty."


    The Scottish Government says the extra cash for infrastructure means Scotland's overall budget will be £330m higher than expected over the next two years. Read our full story here.


    The CBI says the infrastructure investment announced in the statement should boost investment and create jobs. Director-general, John Cridland, said: "The government now has everything to prove by delivering. Businesses need to see the chancellor's words translated into building sites on the ground."


    Children's charity Barnardo's has done some number crunching and says the poorest families will be hit hard by the planned below-inflation increases in benefits. Families on benefits will lose out on as much as £140 a year next year, as a result of the new uprating rules, it says.

    1619: Fabienne Noakes, London

    emails: I am deeply shocked to see teachers singled out and the only ones have they pay linked to performance? What about government ministers, bank managers and many others who have plunged the country into the present crisis?


    Iain Groves emailed earlier imploring us and the chancellor to "speak in plain English". He said: I want to know, how much (in pounds) was the debt when he took over, how much is it now, how much did he borrow last year, how much did he borrow this year.


    The answer is, at the beginning of April 2010 (just before the election) the government's net debt - the sum of all outstanding borrowing - was £770bn, or 53.1% of GDP. At the end of September 2012 (the most recent figures) it was £1,066bn, or 67.9% of GDP. Last year, the government borrowed £126bn. This year it is expected to borrow £108bn.

    1628: Rich, Northants

    texts: For the person who earns £60K per yr, why do you need £80p/m to raise a child you chose to have!! Personally I am quite happy with his statement overall, less tax to pay and no fuel increase.


    Despite the announcement of a £1bn Business Bank, there should be greater government influence "over the existing banking infrastructure," says Charlie Lawson, national director of small business networking group Business Network International.


    As Robert Peston said earlier, the squeeze on benefits is one of the biggest stories from this Autumn Statement and is one of the subjects we are getting the most comments about.

    1640: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    tweets: Labour say will "look at the bill" before deciding whether to vote against planned 1 per cent cap on benefit increases


    Earlier, about a dozen anti-austerity campaigners marked the delivery of the statement by occupying the constituency office of Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell. West Midlands Police said there were no reports of any injuries during the protest at the former International Development Secretary's office in Sutton Coldfield town centre.

    1642: Yvonne Maclean, Lockerbie

    emails about the situation facing public sector workers: Benefits increased by 1%, lower than inflation, but still an increase. Why, when public sector workers have had all pay increases frozen for the past two years and still no word about next year?


    As for the plans to link teachers' pay to performance, the National Union of Teachers says this will "undermine any confidence teachers had in appraisal. It will not enhance 'performance'. All research shows that it does not motivate people."

    1651: Michael Bamford, Cheshire

    emails: No mention of a solution to the "Care in Crisis" issue, the government are really burying their heads in the sand on this topic. When people like my mother have lived frugally and managed to accumulate a few small assets they are penalised. This is not simply unfair, it is unjust, criminal, and should contrary to the rights of NI contributors.

    1652: Ruth Lacy, Wirral

    also emails about a missing element: Would have liked to see grants for a level of solar power for every suitable house in the country as they would contribute to the grid, lower direct energy demands, and have the feed-in tariff completely removed in balance.


    Mr Groves also asked in his email earlier: "How much of the repayment is interest only and how much is reducing the principle?" It is interest only, indeed. At the moment, rather than paying off debt, the government is borrowing more.

    1659: Simon Venner, Devon

    emails: I am pleased to see the tightening on benefits and the public sector spending. I'm fed up of hearing that the so-called poor believe holidays abroad and the latest smart phones are basic human rights. Times are tough and many private sector employees have seen below inflation rises in pay for the last 3 years. People need to live within their means, and those reliant on benefits must tighten their belts with the rest of us.


    Saga, which focuses on the interests of older people, says there is "little cheer" for savers in the statement. "The chancellor says low interest rates are good and show signs of credibility in his policies but they also cause problems for some important sectors of the economy - notably savers and pension funds."


    The Irish government has also been presenting its plans for cutting its deficit, which is currently more than 8%, slightly higher than in the UK. They include a controversial new property tax, cuts in child benefit and higher duty on alcohol and tobacco.


    Back in the UK, motoring journalist and fuel campaigner Quentin Wilson says dropping the rise in fuel tax puts money back in people's pockets. "You're not going to have that 16p a gallon and 3p a litre put on the price of everything we buy in the shops because that's what happens. Money that's spent on fuel duty is not spent on the wider economy," he says.

    1718: R. Blake

    emails: I am less that impressed that the chancellor has not allowed pensioners to put all their ISA allowance into cash. This would mean there was no risk to the capital. I have a direct interest in this as I am old.


    There has been a lot to take in today, including detailed announcements on benefit and tax changes. If you have any questions on these take part in our Q&A with BBC personal finance reporter Kevin Peachey. Email your questions or tweet @PeacheyK. He'll be answering them between 15:30 and 16:30 GMT on Thursday.


    Elfyn Llwyd of Plaid Cymru says poor people will be worse off after the statement. "Benefits were going to go up by RPI, then they were switched to CPI, now they're going to go up in accordance with average wages, which will be a lower figure again. It just shows the Tory party are still the nasty party," he says.

    1727: James Wand from Chilwell, Nottingham

    emails: I am really saddened by this budget. Osborne has proven that not only is he willing to destroy the prospects for young people by cuts in welfare and projected higher unemployment - there is no guarantee he is going to leave office in 2015 having made the country any more financially secure.

    1728: Amy, Sandbach

    emails: I had a maternity leave last year and will have another next year for my second child; maternity pay will rise by just 1%, another cut to our family income thanks to inflation, at a time when finances are stretched due to me not having my normal salary. All of this makes us very unlikely to go out and spend, move house or upgrade our car. And that's what the economy needs.


    Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes says the Autumn Statement was as "balanced" as it could be in the circumstances. He says some more "draconian" proposals were left out, including removing benefit entitlements for the under-25s or capping benefits for families with more than two or three children.

    1733: Robert Peston Business editor

    suggests many business people will be in two minds whether to crack open the bubbly. Many of them - especially those in middle management - will be hurt by a £1bn raid on tax relief for those on higher earnings saving for a pension.


    Personal finance reporter Ian Pollock has found an interesting line tucked away in the Treasury documents. Some £40bn is being held in Swiss bank accounts by UK taxpayers, the government estimates.

    1737: AM from London

    emails: for all the complaints re the 1% cap in benefits, please remember they went up by 5% last year and have been rising for many many years. As a private sector employee, I haven't had a pay rise for 5 years. People need to get real - the years of Labour excesses are long gone.

    1741: Jim Fitzpatrick BBC NI economics and business editor

    tweets about today's other budget, the Irish one: Seasonal cheer for drinks trade on the border in Northern Ireland as Irish Finance Minister adds €1 to a bottle of wine. #bbceconomy


    Here's a quick round-up of reaction to the statement. Labour accused Mr Osborne of breaking his own rules, on which his credibility depended. "Today after two and a half years we can see, and people can feel in the country, the true scale of this government's economic failure," shadow chancellor Ed Balls told MPs.


    Former CBI director-general Lord Digby Jones said he thought the chancellor was still "on the right track". He said the new investment in science, as well as infrastructure projects, would probably produce economic growth but this would take place over four or five years.


    TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "What is missing today is any vision of a future economy that can deliver decent jobs and living standards - it's pain without purpose." Meanwhile, UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said Mr Osborne was "not cutting far enough or fast enough".


    Former chancellor Lord Lamont says George Osborne is "on the right track". He says: "There's absolutely no alternative. I just don't see how people can believe that you can solve a debt crisis by accumulating more debt."


    And speaking to MPs in the Commons the chancellor himself said: "It's taking time, but the British economy is healing." Announcing that austerity measures will be extended to 2018, he said, "turning back now would be a disaster" for the UK.


    A closer reading of the Treasury's figures finds that the new tax and benefit measures will hit the poorest and the richest hardest. The poorest 10% will be £200 worse off a year - 1.75% of their income, while the richest 10% will lose between £1,500 and £1,600 a year - 2% of their income.


    A brief recap of some of the main economic points before we wrap up. The independent Office for Budget Responsibility slashed its forecasts for the UK economy this year from growth of 0.8% to a contraction of 0.1%. It also downgraded its forecasts for the next five years.


    The OBR said the chancellor was "on course" to meet his target of balancing the books on his chosen measure by 2017-2018. But it is worth pointing out that this only means there is a greater than 50% chance of that happening.


    The OBR also said debt will not fall as a proportion of the country's output until 2016-17, a year later than the target the chancellor had set himself.


    An interesting line from tax expert Anne Redston. Writing for the BBC, she said, for the first time the UK tax authority can now access information from credit reference agencies and cross-match it to the earnings you have declared to the tax authority. This is a radical new way of finding out about hidden profits.


    How do the newspapers see the Autumn Statement? "Osborne squeezes rich and poor", says the Financial Times, adding, "Forecasts show grim years ahead". The Telegraph labels it a "Middle-class tax grab", which will leave families £1,000 worse off as more are dragged into the higher rate tax band.


    The Guardian, Mirror and Independent all focus on the additional years of austerity to come. Meanwhile, the Sun says the axing of the fuel duty rise was the "only ray of sunshine". The Mail's headline says: "Osborne bashes benefits" and the Express leads on the squeezing of pensions for the better off.


    Thanks very much for reading our live coverage of the Autumn Statement and sending us your comments. If you have any questions on the tax and benefit changes, join our question and answer session with personal finance reporter Kevin Peachey on Thursday between 15:30 and 16:30 GMT. Tweet him your questions now: @PeacheyK


    Find full coverage of the Autumn Statement at


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