The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, labelled his budget as a ‘budget for long term growth’ which sets out policies which mean ‘more jobs, more investment and lower taxes’.

The Chancellor claims the budget sticks to the Government’s plan by delivering lower taxes, better public services and more investment, while putting ‘over £900 a year back into the average worker’s pocket’ and meeting fiscal rules.

But what did he say?

According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, the UK fiscal watchdog, GDP grew by 0.1% in 2023 and the unemployment rate remained below forecasts at 3.8% in Q4 2024. The OBR project that the economy will grow from the first half of 2024 onwards, whilst the IMF is forecasting that the UK will experience the fastest cumulative growth in the G7 between 2024 and 2028.

Here are the Spring Budget headlines:


  • The main rate of National insurance will be cut again by a further 2 percentage points, from 10% to 8% for employees and from 8% to 6% for the self-employed. These changes mean the average worker will experience a tax cut of over £900 compared to last year and the average self employed person will experience a cut of over £650 compared to last year.
  • Combined changes to National Insurance will result in the equivalent of 200,000 new full time workers joining the labour market by 2028-29, according to the Chancellor.
  • Freezes to fuel duty and alcohol duty will continue. For fuel this will be frozen again until March 2025 and for alcohol this will be extended until 1 February 2025.
  • Vulnerable households will receive support via an extension to the Household Support Fund for an extra six months to September 2024.
  • The windfall tax on the profits of energy firms which was scheduled to end in March 2028 has been extended until March 2029.

Public Services

  • Day-to-day public spending will grow on average by 1% in real terms over the next five years.
  • The Chancellor announced the Public Sector Productivity Plan which pledges £4.2billion investment to improve public service delivery by using better technology to make more productive use of workers’ time.
  • Within this plan the NHS will receive £3.4billion, enabling a commitment to annual productivity growth of 1.9% between 2025 and 2030.


  • Support packages were announced to help in establishing the UK as a world leader in fast growing industries as the UK is ‘on track to become the world’s next Silicon Valley’ according to the Chancellor.
  • There will be £45million used to fund medical research to develop new medicines and the UK will have greater capacity to manufacture these with a £650million AstraZeneca investment to build a new vaccine manufacturing hub in Liverpool and expand operations in CFurther devolution, including a new North
  • East trailblazer deal, was announced along with a funding package potentially worth over £100million for the area. Powers were also devolved to Buckinghamshire, Warwickshire and Surrey.
  • SMEs will be provided with support as the VAT registration threshold will increase from £85,000 to £90,000 which will mean around 28,000 small businesses will no longer pay VAT. The Growth Guarantee Fund has also been extended, equivalent to £200million.
  • There were pensions and savings reforms announced including a new UK ISA to encourage investment in UK equities.


  • There will be significant funding to extend the Long Term Plans for Towns to 20 new places and over £240milion to build nearly 8,000 homes in Barking Riverside and Canary Wharf.
  • Multiple dwellings relief will be abolished from June, raising £385million a year.
  • The Furnished Holiday Lettings tax regime will be abolished from April 2025, making it easier for local people to find a home and raising £245million a year.
  • The higher rate of Capital Gains Tax on property will be lowered from 28% to 24% from April 2024, a change which could boost the residential property market.
  • In terms of housing delivery, the Chancellor stated that he is committed to building more houses for young people – with the government on track to deliver over one million homes by the end of this parliament.

Our initial Reaction

Sarah Hamilton-Foyn, Executive Director based in our Cirencester office, says:

“With focus shifting towards a general election at some point in 2024, we didn’t learn a great deal about the Government’s plans in today’s Budget. While the reduction in NI contributions is clearly welcome, we are still faced with a high tax burden and the issue of how to address the UK’s poor growth and productivity remains. It was disappointing to hear so little mentioned on housing, especially at a time when the most recent housing delivery figures for 2022-23 continue to show that we are nowhere near the 300,000 homes annual target set by government. Regardless of the general election outcome, we need more action from government on delivering homes, transport infrastructure, and renewable energy in order to genuinely achieve more balanced growth.”

Here’s Richard Cook, Senior Director based in our Manchester Office:

“The announcements regarding levelling up show that there is a commitment to towards devolving powers across more areas of the country and the North East Trailblazer Devolution Deal is a welcome sign in this respect. It is positive that the OBR is forecasting slightly higher growth than in its previous update in November, but the longer term estimates show how far we have to go in order to boost productivity, particularly in northern parts of the country. At the start of the Budget speech, the term ‘high-wage, high-skill economy’ was used to refer to the UK. If we actually want to get to this position, the devolution agenda will need to be one of the top priorities following the general election. In addition, we need to see a far more ambitious approach from government to housing delivery because as it stands, far too many people, particularly young people, are unable to buy a home. If we get devolution right and start to deliver infrastructure at the rate it is needed, be it housing, transport, etc., we may actually stand a chance of solving the productivity puzzle.”


This article was written by Cameron Davis, for more information about this article, please contact us.