UK Autumn Statements 2023 – Fundhouse Comment

Ben Jones - Fundhouse

Home » UK Autumn Statements 2023 – Fundhouse Comment

Published: 22nd November 2023

This Article was Written by: Ben Jones - Fundhouse

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On Wednesday, Chancellor Hunt delivered an ‘Autumn Statement’ to give Parliament an economic update and announce new policies – “110 measures for growth”. In his Spring Budget, he faced a balancing act – supporting a sluggish economy under the constraints of tight finances and high inflation.

This time, he had more breathing room, explaining that new policies were viable due to having achieved the PM’s economic goals for 2023 – halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt. Inflation has halved (to 4.6%, from 11.1% in 2022), the UK has (just) avoided a recession, and debt is forecast to shrink relative to the economy; a better foundation for today’s policies. This comes against a tricky corporate backdrop – the UK is seen as less attractive to global companies for investment and listing their shares.

Policy highlights from the Chancellor’s “110 measures for growth”

For individuals. Focussed on encouraging work, and helping those most impacted by the cost-of-living crisis:

  • National Insurance. Class 1 Employee rate cut from 12% to 10%, saving the average worker £450+pa. For the self-employed, Class 4 cut from 9% to 8%, and Class 2 abolished.
  • Low-income workers and benefits. Minimum/Living Wage up c.10%. Universal Credit inflationary boost. Benefits ‘back-to-work’ plan. Housing allowance up. More apprenticeships. Disability reforms.
  • Investment and pensions. Simplifying ISA investment and broadening permitted investments. Triple-Lock commitment to State Pension & Pension Credit – up 8.5%. To simplify saving, keeping a defined-contribution ‘pot-for-life’. Pension scheme consolidations for efficiency.

Business/national economy. Removing barriers to investment, attracting new capital, improving productivity:

  • Tax. “Biggest business tax cut in modern British history” – making permanent the Full Expensing scheme, which provides business tax relief on certain investments. Better tax relief for loss-making companies.
  • Innovation. £4.5bn for ‘strategic manufacturing’. Green/pharma/creative/AI sector boosts. More devolution.
  • Small businesses. Rates relief extended for some. Rules to improve ‘late payments’ to help cash flows.
  • Property development. Fast-track approvals, sort backlog. More housebuilding. Easier house-to-flat conversion.


Small business owners may enjoy benefits from extended relief on Rates and new ‘late payments’ rules. State Pension boosts and National Insurance cuts may be small comfort given 2021 tax threshold freezes. ISAs and pensions are becoming more flexible but allowances are unchanged. How do new policies affect our portfolios? We have been ‘overweight’ UK stocks for some time, given their relative cheapness to global peers (despite UK companies being in reasonable health, and being exposed to well-diversified global economic factors).

A period of more stable inflation and no recession, combined with the pro-business policies announced on Wednesday, could be a positive catalyst for the UK market. But, as a reminder, we do not invest based on short-term economic or political news, and instead look for investments with the most attractive long-term valuations.

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