Autumn Statement was a wasted opportunity to set out a path to a fairer economy

22 November 2023

The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has set out his Autumn Statement which included measures to increase business investment, changes to the pensions system, and a cut to National Insurance Contributions.

HM Treasury sign in London


The Chancellor also said that departmental spending plans would remain the same, meaning that due to inflation unprotected departments face a £19bn spending cut in real terms by 2027-28.

Mike Clancy, Prospect General Secretary, said:

“This Autumn Statement was a wasted opportunity to set out a path to a fairer, more productive economy.

“The UK economy needs a turbo boost to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and deliver the long-term industrial strategy for better jobs.

“No amount of rhetoric will hide the fact the UK is failing to deliver the energy infrastructure and innovation we need to either meet our net zero target obligations or create new well-paid jobs in all parts of the country.

“Growing science, technology, engineering and maths skills in both the public and private sector will also be critical to good work and a growing economy, but there was no action here either.”

On public spending Clancy said:

“The Chancellor has effectively announced a crippling real-terms reduction in non-protected public spending, piling pressure on departments and agencies which are already at breaking point.

“You cannot have good public services on the cheap. These cuts will cement the recruitment and retention crisis that exists in the public sector and make delivering the government’s goals nigh on impossible.

“For example, the Chancellor said he wanted to speed up planning, but it is not clear how this would be possible when statutory planning consultees are all seeing their budgets falling in real terms.

“Once again, the government is attempting to balance short term gain on the back of the public sector – this is unsustainable.”