Budget 2024: Jeremy Hunt cuts National Insurance and reforms child benefit but tax burden still climbing

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Follow NationalWorld's live blog with the latest news, updates and analysis from the 2024 Spring Budget.

Jeremy Hunt has announced another cut in National Insurance and also a reform to child benefit in his last Budget before the election.

Some polls have Rishi Sunak's party more than 20 points behind Labour, and Hunt is desperate to give the government a boost ahead of the general election later this year.

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Hunt once again cut National Insurance by 2 percentage points and also announced an extra £6bn for the NHS, however this will have to be paid for by public sector productivity.

The tax burden is still set to reach it's highest level since 1948.

Follow our live blog below for the latest news, updates and analysis from the 2024 Spring Budget.

NationalWorld's Budget 2024 liveblog

Snap analysis: Budget 2024

Watching on from high up in the House of Commons press gallery, I felt like I’d heard this Budget before. Jeremy Hunt told us that Conservatives want to cut taxes, they have a plan for growth and the economy has turned the corner. 

He said exactly the same thing in the Autumn Statement, yet since then the economy has gone into recession. Indeed, one announcement was identical to that of last November - the 2p cut in National Insurance. That didn’t change the polls - they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

While Hunt was bullish about cutting taxes, I got a slightly different impression from Treasury officials in the post-Budget briefing to journalists. They were talking about the huge expenditure that has gone out during Covid and the energy crisis, and having to cover that. That’s why the tax burden is still set to reach its highest level since 1948, despite what the Chancellor says in the Commons.

There were some eye-catching policies - the long-needed reform of child benefit which unfairly punishes parents and puts people off getting back into work. He also pledged to reform non-dom status less than a year after saying it was wrong. However, just like last autumn, the impact of this will be whether voters feel better off come election time - and all evidence is pointing in the opposite direction.

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