Jeremy Hunt will unveil a pre-Christmas nightmare of tax hikes and spending cuts today as he scrambles to shore up the government’s books.
Rishi Sunak is gathering Cabinet to sign off a brutal Autumn Statement, with the Chancellor warning Britons there is no choice about ‘facing into the storm’ and making ‘sacrifices’ to weather turmoil at home and abroad.
Middle-earners face paying thousands of pounds more in tax as a freeze on thresholds drags people deeper into the system by ‘stealth’. Mr Hunt will also seek to show that the wealthy are being clobbered too, cutting the level at which the 45p top rate is due from £150,000 to £125,000.
Town halls will be freed to increase council tax by up to 5 per cent without need for a referendum, and subsidies on energy bills are expected to be downgraded to save money, with the average bill likely to rise £2,500 to £3,000 from April. Although NHS budgets will be protected, other departments are facing another grim bout of austerity -…