Autumn Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:27 pm on 22 November 2023.

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Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Chancellor of the Exchequer 1:27, 22 November 2023

I think the hon. Gentleman prepared his comments for the autumn statement that he wanted me to deliver, rather than the one that I actually delivered. For example, he complained about the tax burden being the highest for seven years, but what he did not say was that in Westminster we have taken difficult decisions and cut taxes, whereas in Scotland the SNP ran out of money and had to raise them. He talked about punishing the most vulnerable, but just look at the measures that we have taken. He talked about renters, but did not mention the fact that we have increased the local housing allowance, which will mean £800 of help for 1.6 million of our poorest people. He did not mention the fact that we have increased benefits by 6.7%, which is double next year’s expected inflation, and have increased the state pension through the triple lock by 8.5%, nearly three times next year’s predicted inflation.

Here is the most uncomfortable truth for the SNP. They have been in power in Edinburgh for longer than the Conservatives have been in power in Westminster, but Scottish GDP is still lower, Scottish employment is still lower, and Scottish inactivity is still higher. The reason is for that is very simple. They focus on separation, while we focus on growth. I know what is better for families in Scotland, who will today see us getting growth going, cutting taxes, and backing Scottish business.