What time is the announcement and 8 predictions for Jeremy Hunt’s spring statement

    Mr Hunt, who has personally urged over-50s who have taken early retirement to go back to work, will unveil new measures to encourage and retain older workers in the labor force.

    He is expected to raise the lifetime allowance – the maximum amount that workers can put into their pension pots before they are taxed – by more than half a million pounds to incentivise retirees to keep earning.

    The LTA is currently just over £1m. Sources have indicated that Mr Hunt will raise this to between £1.5m and £1.8m – closer to its previous peak.

    Mr Hunt will also launch a “returnerships” program that will offer skills training that will be tailored for the over-50s, taking previous experience into account.

    The Government will add another 8,000 places per year (an increase of 14pc) to its “skills bootcamps”, which reskill people in sectors such as construction and technology.

    Getting long-term sick back into work

    Another 2.5 million economically inactive people are classed as long-term sick and Mr Hunt also wants to get many of this group back into work.

    Mr Hunt wants to reboot the benefits system, so that long-term sick people who return to work part-time can continue claiming some benefits.

    A Health and Disability White Paper, which will be published on the day of the Budget, will outline plans to scrap the work capability assessment. The move, which will be the biggest reform to the welfare system in a decade, will mean that disabled people can work without losing their benefits.

    Another policy on the cards is a sick note crackdown. The Treasury has been working with the Department for Work and Pensions to change how GPs issue sick notes, with a focus on continuing work with support instead of getting signed out of the labor force altogether.

    Getting parents back to work

    A further 1.7 million are parents who are staying at home to look after their children. Think tanks have repeatedly flagged access to childcare as one of the most urgent and easily fixable issues that the government could target.

    Mr Hunt will announce 30 hours a week of free childcare for one- and two-year-olds in England, in a policy that will cost the Treasury £4bn.

    This will be a large expansion on the current system, which entitles all three- and four-year-olds to free part-time nursery education for 15 hours a week, 38 weeks a year, regardless of how much their families earn.

    Mr Hunt will increase the hourly rate the Government pays to childcare providers and will give local authorities funding to set up wraparound childcare provision in schools from September 2024.

    He will also make changes to childcare support for parents on universal credit so that the payments are made up front, rather than as a refund. He will also increase the maximum support by several hundred pounds.

    Energy bills support

    The Government’s Energy Price Guarantee, which caps energy costs for households, was scheduled to rise from £2,500 to £3,000 on April 1. Support for businesses will also become more targeted.

    But Mr Hunt will keep the cap at £2,500 for another three months. This will save the average family £160 on their energy bills and will cost the Treasury around £3bn.



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