Last week saw the Chancellor of the Exchequer deliver his annual Autumn Statement, pledging to unlock investment, reward work and grow our economy.  

The UK economy has outperformed expectations this year and, as pledged by our Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, inflation is now less than half its peak.  

The independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has also forecast that inflation will fall further from its present level of 4.6 percent to 2.8 percent by the end of next year.  

Responsible decisions taken by the Government to limit borrowing have supported the Bank of England to bring inflation down from over 11 percent last autumn to 4.6 percent in October this year.  

This is good news for all of us and has enabled the Chancellor to announce his welcome Autumn Statement.

East Anglian Daily Times: Dan Poulter welcomes the Chancellor's Autumn statementDan Poulter welcomes the Chancellor's Autumn statement I am particularly pleased that the Chancellor has honoured the commitment to maintain the state pension triple lock.  

Payments will rise by 8.5 percent in line with average wage growth between May and July 2023.  

There had been some speculation that the Government would raise the payment by a lesser amount which would have been unfair for those pensioners whose only income is from their state pension.

I am pleased that this boost has honoured our commitment to the triple lock in full and from April 2024, the state pension will rise from £203.85 per week to £221.20.  

The basic State Pension then will be £3750 higher than when I became the Member of Parliament for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich in 2010.  

I believe that if you have worked hard all of your life, you deserve to be looked after in your retirement.

For those who can’t work for legitimate reasons comes the increase to all working-age benefits by 6.7 percent, which will see benefits payments boosted for around 5.5 million households in receipt of Universal Credit who will gain an average increase of £470 per year.

For hardworking families in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, the Chancellor announced the largest ever cut to Employee’s National Insurance, with the rate of National Insurance dropping from 12 percent to 10 percent from January 2024.  

This move will see the average worker on £35,000 per year receiving an annual tax cut of £450 per year, helping people to keep more of their hard earned pay.  

Over and above this, class 2 contributions will be abolished and there is also a tax cut for the self-employed – the average self-employed person on £28,200 will now save £350 per year.

In addition, the National Living Wage will be boosted to record levels from April 2024, jumping by almost 10 percent from £10.42 to £11.44 an hour, and eligibility has been reduced from 23 to 21 years of age.  

This really is welcome news - the new rates mean a full time worker on the National Living Wage will see their gross annual pay rise by around £1900.  

This change has been implemented following recommendations by the Low Pay Commission and takes into account cost of living challenges.

As a strong supporter of business and enterprise, I welcome the Chancellor cutting business taxes permanently by £11 billion per year. This is the single biggest business tax cut in modern British history and will introduce full expensing, a tax break which allows companies to reduce their tax by up to 25p for every £1 they invest in plant and machinery.  

This enables businesses to invest for less and offset those investments against their tax bills. Here in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, I often visit small and independent businesses who are the lifeblood of our rural communities, so it will be welcome news to them that the Chancellor has also announced a business rates package worth £4.3 billion.  

The small business multiplier will be frozen for a fourth consecutive year, saving the average shop £1650 and “Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief” will be extended, helping to ensure that those businesses most commonly found on our high streets, such as shops and pubs, continue to be supported.  

This will save the average independent pub nearly £13,000 next year – again, welcome news.

Overall, I am pleased that the Autumn Statement will support pensioners and hardworking people here in Suffolk and I hopeful that as inflation continues to fall, these measures will bring a welcome boost to businesses and people’s pockets.