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Spring Budget 2024 at a glance: The measures announced by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt used his Budget to announce a further cut in National Insurance and more support for households, ahead of an expected General Election this year.

Cambridge was mentioned several times in his speech, with investment from AstraZeneca, and the creation of a Development Corporation. You can read more about what the Budget means for the Cambridge region here.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt with his Budget box. Picture: James Manning/PA
Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt with his Budget box. Picture: James Manning/PA

The Chancellor’s March statement to the Commons is his prime opportunity to set out the government’s tax and spend plans.

Mr Hunt’s headline announcement was a 2p cut to National Insurance, matching a reduction announced in the Autumn Statement, alongside a series of measures to help hard-up households with the cost of living.

The tax cut comes as the Conservatives attempt to repair its reputation with the electorate and create dividing lines with Labour, as recent polling suggests just 20 per cent of the public would vote for them at the next election.

The Chancellor’s financial package is billed as a “Budget for long-term growth”, but is set against the backdrop of the UK’s struggling economy, which slipped into a technical recession at the end of 2023.

Critics have pointed out the overall tax burden is still rising and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer berated the Tories record, saying: “After 14 years, who do they actually think feels better off?”

Here is a summary of what was announced:

National Insurance cut

A cut in national insurance from 10 per cent by 8 per cent could save the average worker £450 a year, adding up to a £900 saving for 27 million employees when combined with a cut last autumn.

Senior Tories have criticised the move, calling instead for income tax thresholds to be unfrozen, which has led more people to be dragged into higher tax brackets in a phenomenon known as fiscal drag.

Fuel and alcohol duty freezes

The Chancellor said he would maintain the 5p cut and freeze fuel duty for a further 12 months.

This is expected to save the average car driver £50 next year and bring total savings since the 5p cut was introduced to around £250.

UK fuel duty (pence per litre). Graphic: PA
UK fuel duty (pence per litre). Graphic: PA

An alcohol duty freeze will also continue until February 2025, with the Chancellor claiming this would help 38,000 pubs across the UK.

The two duty freezes are expected to help reduce headline inflation by 0.2 percentage points in 2024-25.

Tobacco and flight duties

An excise duty will be introduced on vapes from October 2026, alongside a one-off increase in tobacco duty and a one-off adjustment to rates of air passenger duty on non-economy flights.

Oil and gas windfall tax extended

The windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas producers will be extended until 2029, with the aim of raising £1.5 billion in tax.

Non-dom tax status abolished

The special tax status for non-domiciled individuals in the UK, which allows them to pay tax on only their UK earnings, will be abolished.

It will be replaced with a simpler system from April 2025, which Mr Hunt said would be more generous for the first four years, with non-doms having to pay more tax after that point.

This is expected to raise £2.7 billion a year in taxes, and will be used to help cut taxes for households.

Household support fund

Funding aimed at supporting vulnerable households with the costs of basic goods, and heating their homes through the cost-of-living crisis, will be extended for a further six months.

The Household Support Fund was due to wrap up at the end of March, but should now continue until September.

Public services

The planned growth in day-to-day public spending will be kept at 1% in real terms but the Government will “spend it better” with a new “productivity plan”, Mr Hunt said.

An NHS productivity plan costing £3.4 billion will meanwhile be funded in full, with the aim of improving the health services IT systems to free up the time of doctors and nurses.


The Government will guarantee pay rates to childcare providers for the next two years, in order to deliver on its care offer for children over nine months old. The package is aimed at getting more working age parents back into work while they juggle caring responsibilities.

High income child benefit charge

Long seen as an anomaly and unfair, the high-income child benefit charge threshold will be raised from £50,000 to £60,000 from April and the taper will extend up to £80,000.This will lift 170,000 families out of paying the charges altogether.

In the longer-term, it will be assessed at a household level to address the issue that currently two parents earning under £50,000 can keep all of their child benefit, but if one of them earns more than that, they face the charges.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt with his Budget box. Picture: James Manning/PA
Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt with his Budget box. Picture: James Manning/PA

Mr Hunt said: “That means two parents earning £49,000 a year receive the benefit in full but a household earning a lot less than that does not if just one parent earns over £50,000.

“Today I set out plans to end that unfairness. Doing so requires significant reform to the tax system including allowing HMRC to collect household level information.

“We will therefore consult on moving the high-income child benefit charge to a household-based system to be introduced by April 2026.”

VAT registration threshold

The VAT registration threshold will be increased from £85,000 to £90,000 from the start of April, with the aim of taking “tens of thousands” of businesses out of paying it altogether in order to help them grow.

Regional investment

A development corporation in Cambridge, tasked with delivery major housing development, will receive a “long-term funding settlement” at the next Spending Review to start “delivering on the government’s plan to unleash the economic potential of the city, including building new homes and increasing the amount of lab space”.

Some £10.2million is being invested to support the development of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Europe’s leading centre for medical research and health science.

The Budget promised that “£7.2 million of this will unlock improvements to local transport connections for the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and the city, and £3 million is for Cambridge University NHS Trust to support plans for growth”.

Elsewhere, the North East of England will be awarded a trailblazer devolution deal, potentially worth more than £100 million.

The West Midlands Combined Authority will be awarded a further £15 million for cultural, heritage and investment projects, while counties including Buckinghamshire, Warwickshire and Surrey will get further devolved powers.

British ISA

The new savings account will allow an additional £5,000 investment in UK-based companies and assets, with the aim of helping them expand.

More reaction soon.

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