Hammond Targets U.K. Working Class With Pledges on Homes, Wagesby
Funding for new homes to be announced in Autumn Statement
Chancellor to promise increase in minimum wage to 7.50 pounds
U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond will outline a series of measures to help “ordinary working-class families” and stress that a stable economy, fiscal discipline and better productivity are the best ways to raise living standards.
In his Autumn Statement to Parliament Wednesday, Hammond will pledge 1.4 billion pounds ($1.8 billion) to help build 40,000 new homes and announce a relaxation of the rules governing affordable housing funds, the Treasury said in an e-mailed statement. Other measures will include an increase in the minimum wage from the current 7.20 pounds ($8.93) an hour.
The shock vote to leave the European Union has been taken by Prime Minister Theresa May as a plea for more inclusive growth from those who feel left behind by globalization. Still, with the public finances forecast to deteriorate sharply over the coming years as Brexit takes its toll on the economy, Hammond has little room for big fiscal giveaways.
"We have to maintain our credibility," Hammond told the BBC’s "Andrew Marr" program on Sunday. "We have an eye-wateringly large debt. We still have a significant deficit in this country and we have to prepare the economy for the period that lies ahead."
Watch more: set a reminder to watch Hammond’s statement live.
The National Living Wage, introduced by Hammond’s predecessor George Osborne, will rise to 7.50 pounds an hour from April. The 4.2 percent increase is more than four times the current rate of inflation.
Affordable-housing funding will be extended to include rent, shared ownership and rent-to-buy. Letting-agent fees will be scrapped, helping 4.3 million households that reply on rented accommodation.
Hammond will also announce that the Universal Credit taper will fall to 63 percent from its current 65 percent, allowing recipients to keep more of every extra pound they earn, a move that will benefit about 3 million households.