Chancellor's decision to prioritise tax cuts over public service investment is ill-advised

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt walking down Downing Street with his red briefcase.

Responding to the Chancellor's Spring Budget announced on 6 March 2024, Ben Harrison, Director of the Work Foundation at Lancaster University said:

“The Chancellor set out his ambition to build a higher wage, higher skill economy and make work pay. But on his watch an extra 500,000 people fell into severely insecure work in 2023 alone – leaving 6.8 million people stuck in jobs characterised by low pay and without key employment protections.

The Chancellor’s decision to prioritise the short-term sugar rush of a further 2p cut to National Insurance over further public service investment is ill advised. The reality is cutting NICs is likely to disproportionately benefit those on higher incomes and will do little to address the financial penalty of £3,276 per year experienced by those in insecure jobs.

It will also do little to address the UK’s long-term sickness crisis. Since December 2019, on average nearly 500 people have become economically inactive due to ill health every day – leaving us with a near record 2.8 million people out of the labour market as a result.

“While committing to fund the NHS productivity plan is welcome, we will also need additional long-term investments in our healthcare infrastructure and action to improve the quality and security of jobs on offer if we are to see more of those people return to work and support future economic growth.”

Back to News