Spring Budget 2024: When will the Budget be announced? What will be in the Budget from Chancellor Jeremy Hunt?

Jeremy Hunt is under pressure to deliver tax cuts in an election year.

The Chancellor will deliver the Spring Budget on Wednesday, March 6 in what is expected to be the final major fiscal event before the general election.

Jeremy Hunt is still finalising the announcements with the Treasury, but is being pushed by Tory MPs to deliver tax cuts.

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The country is entering a recession, but ministers are desperate for an improved offering in the face of difficult polling for Downing Street. The latest Ipsos poll has Rishi Sunak’s party on 20 per cent, 27 points behind Labour.

Here’s what to expect on timings and what is likely to be in the Spring Budget when Mr Hunt gets to his feet in the Commons.

What time is the Spring Budget on Wednesday?

Mr Hunt will stand to deliver his Spring Budget statement immediately after the end of Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday. He is due to speak starting from about 12.30pm to 12.40pm on the day.

What is expected to be in the Spring Budget?

Tax cuts

The Treasury is considering cutting either National Insurance or income tax, with speculation over whether it will be a 1p or 2p reduction.

Cutting National Insurance is cheaper and does less to raise inflation, but slashing income tax is more popular with ministers because it is believed to appeal more to the public.

However, it is understood Mr Hunt will leave income tax, instead cutting National Insurance yet again. A 2p cut would leave a £9 billion black hole in the government’s coffers, so it would almost certainly see cuts to public services.

Measures being looked at to fund this include raising air passenger duty on business class airfares, and removing non-dom status – the latter of which would starve an incoming Labour Government of funding.

Windfall tax

With Labour under pressure over its own windfall tax, The Scotsman has been told Mr Hunt is set to park Tory tanks very much in their lawn. The Chancellor is expected to announce an extension of the windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas companies, which would annoy the many Tory MPs who have criticised Labour for going too far. It is also set to anger Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross, who has been publicly against an extension of the windfall tax and reportedly confronted Prime Minister Rishi Sunak about the plans.

Cuts, cuts, cuts

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One guarantee from the Spring Budget is there will be cuts to day-to-day public spending to create more fiscal headroom for reducing tax.

Mr Hunt has already reduced public spending once in last year’s Autumn Statement, and deferred further cuts meaning they’ll be picked up by the next government, something most MPs believe is deliberate.

Expect any cuts to public spending to earn the ire of the Scottish Government, as the move would ultimately lead to a reduction in the amount of Barnett consequentials heading north of the border.

Housing

Mr Hunt is believed to be drawing up proposals for a 99 per cent mortgage scheme ahead of the Budget.

The scheme would allow first-time buyers to put down a 1 per cent deposit, with the government acting as a loan backer. It comes with Tory MPs desperately worried young people will abandon the party over failing to make it possible to get on the housing ladder.

Housing secretary Michael Gove has previously suggested something like this would come either in the Spring Budget or next Tory manifesto.

Mr Hunt has also hinted he is open to tweaking Lifetime Individual Savings Account (LISA) rules as another way to get more people on the property ladder. These rules offer a government-funded bonus on savings for buying a first home, but penalty charges apply if the money saved is not spent on property, or if the property purchased is above the current £450,000 limit. This limit could now be raised.

Fuel duty

Another safe bet would be a fuel duty freeze. Frozen since 2011, the duty is due to go up by 5p at the end of March.

However, not only does it always get frozen, but the government is keen to create dividing lines with Labour, and are claiming they have a "pro-driver agenda".

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