Philip Hammond leaves Downing Street to deliver his Autumn Statement. Photo Leon Neal / Getty Images.
The 2016 Autumn Statement chose corporate tax cuts over the pay rise Britain’s workers need
In the details of Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement came a worrying confirmation for those of us campaigning for a pay rise for Britain’s workforce.
The Autumn Statement’s accompanying OBR forecast shows that the average annual wage will be £1,000 lower in 2020 than predicted at this year’s Budget.
And this is on top of wages still having not recovered to their 2007 levels. At this rate they won’t make it back to pre-crash pay levels before 2021 – a lost 13 years on pay.
This is yet another blow to ordinary working people’s standard of living. And far from being focused on ‘just about managing’ families, this shows up the government’s plans as inadequate.
Home helps, firefighters and nurses are facing real terms pay cuts, as part of a decade of capped and frozen pay – but the Chancellor missed the opportunity to help them. The rise to the national minimum wage is welcome – but under-25s will still miss out on the full amount under the new ‘national living wage’ rate.
And the partial restoration of major cuts to Universal Credit isn’t anywhere near the help ‘just about managing’ families need.
These are political choices. The Chancellor has chosen tax cuts for corporations and the better-off, rather than putting money in the pockets of ordinary working people.
Despite positive – if limited – announcements on bogus self-employment and funding for infrastructure, today’s Autumn Statement was an underwhelming package that does not do enough to support working people now or prepare for a prosperous future outside the EU.