UK Announces a Slew of Allocations under Budget 2023-24

BRITAIN: U.K. Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt delivered the government’s Spring Budget on Wednesday.

“In the face of a cost-of-living crisis… we have demonstrated our values by protecting struggling families,” finance minister Jeremy Hunt said in a wide ranging budget speech outlining extra support especially for energy bills and childcare. The cost-of-living support for this year and next would total £94 billion ($114 billion), as it forecast the UK to stay out of recession with inflation slowing sharply.

Hunt said underlying government debt is forecast to be 92.4% of GDP next year, then 97.3%, then 94.6%, 94.8%, before falling to 94.6% in 27-28. He announced a slew of tax and spending pledges for the next five years, affecting the labor market, pensions, childcare, defense and business investment, as the government seeks to address the country’s sluggish economic growth prospects.

Hunt confirmed an additional 30 hours of free weekly childcare for children under the age of three. This will eventually cover all children from the age of nine months within school semester time and will apply in households where both parents are working. Schools and local authorities will receive additional funding to support wraparound care between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.Parents claiming Universal Credit will receive monthly support of up to £951 for one child and £1,630 for two children, paid upfront.

The annual tax-free allowance on pension savings as per the current budget would rise from £40,000 to £ 60,000, while the Lifetime Allowance, previously set at £1.07 million, shall be abolished.

In terms of nuclear energy, Hunt underscored plans to class nuclear power as “environmentally sustainable,” providing access for nuclear producers to the same investment incentives as renewables.Up to £20 billion will be allocated for early development of carbon capture and storage.

Other important announcements included:

  • Investment allowance worth £9 billion a year.
  • Defense spending up by £11 billion over the next five years
  • 12 new investment zones modelled on the regeneration of London’s Canary Wharf.
  • Fuel duty remains frozen for the next 12 months
  • £63 million for leisure centers and swimming pools, £100 million for charities

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