Jeremy Hunt will present his first spring budget since becoming chancellor on Wednesday, aiming to boost economic growth amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.
The budget is set to introduce 12 new low-tax “investment zones” to revive the stagnant UK economy and help to “level up” areas outside London. It is also believed that the chancellor is poised to increase the tax-free allowance for pensions to encourage those who have returned early to strengthen the UK workforce.
The financial announcement comes as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that the UK economy is likely to perform the worst of any G7 country this year.
Mr Hunt is due to deliver his budget to the House of Commons at 12.30pm, after questions from the Prime Minister.
The chancellor is expected to reveal 12 zones centered around universities – dramatically reducing a plan introduced by former prime minister Liz Truss that saw hundreds of councils compete against each other.
Just a few months ago, Mr Hunt made his fall announcement, appointing chancellor on October 14 following the economic chaos caused by Mrs Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget in September.
His predecessor’s plan refueled the pound and put an end to Mrs Truss’ premiership.
Months pass and Mr Hunt continues to struggle with rising inflation, massive wage protests and a cost-of-living crisis.
Saying he wanted to “top up growth” across the country, Mr Hunt said: “True equalization has to be about local wealth creation and local decision-making to unlock obstacles to regeneration.”
The chancellor is also set to announce £100m investment in research and development projects in Glasgow, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands, as well as providing more funding to level up partnerships across England.
Independent will broadcast the Spring Budget live from the House of Commons and will cover it live via our website. The announcement can also be seen live on major news channels such as BBC News and Sky News.