What did Jeremy Hunt announce in the Spring Budget?

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Spring Statement 2024: live report (Credit:Getty/JohnnyGreig)
Spring Statement 2024: live report (Credit:Getty/JohnnyGreig)

Related tags Legislation Spring Statement Government

Welcome to The Morning Advertiser's live report on the Spring Budget 2024.

14:30PM - Extension to alcohol duty freeze a "disingenuous kick in the teeth"

Bringing our live blog to a close, the Morning Advertiser's​ editor Ed Bedington has said extending the freeze to alcohol duty was a "disingenuous kick in the teeth" for the industry, adding the Chancellor showed a "fundamental lack of understanding" of the pub sector. Read more here​.

14.16PM - BBPA shares fears of more closures 


The British Beer & Pub Association has welcomed the Chancellor's extension to the freeze on alcohol duty, but warned pubs and brewers still face a £450m "cliff edge" of spiralling wage costs and business rates increases, in particular for food-led venues. 

In addition, while the association shared hopes the cut to National Insurance would "boost consumer spending", it urged the Government to take measure to tackle the ongoing cost of doing business. 

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: "It is disappointing the Chancellor did not choose to go further with a cut duty, reduce VAT or cap the increase to the business rates multiplier which would have helped mitigate the huge cost of doing business. 

"Pressures on our sector remain acute with margins being squeezed to the point where we fear it is likely a further 500-600 pubs are likely to close this year on top of the 530 that closed in 2023. 

"No Government should turn a blind eye to the erosion of such an integral economic, social and cultural asset.

14.11PM - BII says Budget delivered "no support" 

(Credit: Getty/Ridofranz)

The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) has said this afternoon's Budget "delivered no support for independent pub business" across the UK.

Echoing UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls, it added the extended freeze to alcohol would not help pubs that have been "facing huge inflation in every area of their business".

BII CEO Steve Alton said: “Our members and the wider hospitality industry are in urgent need of meaningful investment to allow them to thrive as essential hubs of their communities, delivering vital social connection, all whilst supporting local employment and local supply chains.  

"This Budget simply did not deliver to safeguard incredibly successful operators, who are struggling with profitability, whilst being unfairly and disproportionately taxed.”

14.05PM - Starmer reacts to Budget 

Speaking in the House of Commons, leader of the Labour party Keir Starmer has described Hunt's Spring Budget as "delusional" and the result of a "party that has failed".

13.59PM - Sacha Lord: "UK no better off than in 2010"


Night-Time Economy Advisor for Greater Manchester, Sacha Lord, had said the UK is "no better of than it was in 2010" despite more than a decade of "Conservative promises for economic growth".

Reacting to today's Budget, Lord added the nation's hospitality industry had seen "complete destruction" over the last five years.

He continued: "The lack of support in today's Spring Budget is no surprise and yet is also a devastatingly shocking decision.

"In this election year, the industry must now stand together as one to continue to press all political parties to pledge greater support for the sector in their manifestos. I, along with countless other industry leaders, urge all parties to come together around the table to discuss a reduction in VAT to bring us in line with our European counterparts.

"Without support, our hospitality sector will not only become unrecognisable, but the job losses that will follow will be difficult for our economy to withstand without serious implication."

13.52PM - NTIA shares "disappointment" at Spring Budget

The Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) has shared its "disappointment" the lack of support announced for the sector in today's Budget.

In a social media post to X, the association said the budget had sent a "clear message" to hospitality firms, adding it had "lost faith in the Government".

13.43PM - Hunt closes address 

The Chancellor has now finished his address in the House of Commons. 

Of the changes detailed this afternoon, the key announcement for the sector came in the form of an extension to the freeze on alcohol duty until February 2025.

Despite pleas from across the hospitality industry, the Chancellor did not announce any changes to business rates or VAT.

13.41PM - National Insurance cut announced 

(Credit: Getty/claudiodivizia)

Hunt had announced a cut to National Insurance contributions for employees effective from 6 April. The Chancellor said the rate would be reduced by a further 2p.

13.40PM - Heineken calls for business rates reform

While the global brewer has welcomed the alcohol duty freeze, it called for business rates reform to help the sector "thrive".

A Heineken UK spokesperson said: “We welcome the freezing of alcohol duties until February 2025. This freeze will help bring out the best in the great British Pub. Licensees across the UK now need further help to thrive, in the form of long-term, fundamental reform to the business rates system which despite recent support still sees UK pubs overpaying by £400m.”

13.37PM - CAMRA reacts to Budget 

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has said it hopes additional funding allocated to devolved and regional projects would include pubs.

Moreover, CAMRA chairman Nik Antona said the Budget has been a "missed opportunity" to back the great British pub.

13.31PM - Windfall tax for oil and gas companies extended 

Hunt has said he will extend the UK’s windfall tax on the profits for oil and gas companies until 2029.

(Credit: Getty/Yau Ming Low )

13.28PM - More innovation in Britain's future 

The Chancellor told Parliament the Conservatives "know lower taxed economies have more energy, more dynamism, more innovation and we know that’s Britain’s future to."

13.16PM - VAT threshold increased 

The Chancellor has announced the threshold at which small businesses and self-employed people have to register for VAT will increase from £85,000 to £90,000. 

13.06PM - Hogs Back Brewery boss "welcomes" duty freeze

(Credit: Getty/Monty Rakusen)

Tongham-based brewery Hogs Back has "welcomed" the news alcohol duty would remain frozen.

Managing director Rupert Thompson said: "Draught beer, and particularly cask ale, is only sold in pubs, so it’s something that they can uniquely offer to their customers. A pint of beer in the local should be an affordable treat, not an expensive luxury. 

“We’re pleased the Chancellor acknowledged the enormous value of pubs to British society in his speech, they are vital to us as a brewer."

12.50PM - Alcohol duty freeze "doesn't directly help hospitality" 

Reacting to the announcement alcohol duty would remain frozen until February next year, UKHospitality chief executive shared in a post on X that the move was "good news" for alcohol producers but would not "directly help hospitality businesses". 

In a separate post, Nicholls added tackling business rates and VAT pressures would have had a "bigger impact" on firms across the sector.

12.47PM - Hunt: "our policies mean more jobs, more investment and lower taxes"

The Chancellor said his policies would mean "more jobs, more investment and lower taxes" for the nation, adding when he came to office inflation stood at 11% while the latest figures from the OBR revealed it was now at 4% and would meet the Government's 2% target in just a few months, almost a year ahead of previous expectations. 

He said: "More support for small businesses and promoting investment in our nation’s regions is all part of our budget for long-term growth to deliver more jobs, better public services and lower taxes."

12.42PM - Hunt announces alcohol duty will remain frozen until 2025 

(Credit@ Getty/Jonathan Knowles )

Hunt said the Conservatives were "backing the great British pub" by extending the alcohol duty freeze until February 2025, benefitting "thousands of pubs".

12.32PM - Hunt begins his address

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has started his address in Parliament.

12.03PM - Sunak and Hunt take seats in House of Commons

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt have taken their seats in the House of Commons for Prime Ministers Questions ahead of the Budget.

Pictured: Sunak and Hunt at PMQs on 21 Feb (Credit: UK Parliament/Maria Unger)

11.25AM - Kate Nicholls: "VAT cut would incentivise more people to go out"

Speaking with BBC Breakfast earlier today, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls explained the benefits a VAT cut would provide hospitality firms, consumers and the Government.

10.52AM - Hunt leaves Downing Street

Jeremy Hunt Spring Statement 2023

Jeremy Hunt has reportedly been photographed leaving Downing Street with the iconic red box ahead of today's Budget, as reported in the BBC.

The Chancellor is expected to address the House of Commons at 12.30pm following Prime Minister Questions at midday. 

10AM - Trade body's bolster calls for support 

UKHospitality (UKH) chief executive Kate Nicholls spoke with LBC news yesterday (Tuesday 5 March) regarding cost pressures faced by the sector, in particular for late-night and city venues, warning without support on business rates in today's budget the industry could face more closures.

Meanwhile British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Emma McClarkin wrote in the Evening Standard the Spring Budget was the "most important in years" as many pub across the country face "last orders" without the correct support from the Chancellor.

The Night-Time Industries Association has also implored Hunt to "support businesses" later today to avoid further closures across the sector.

9AM - Welcome to The Morning Advertiser's live coverage

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is due to address Parliament at 12.30pm today (Wednesday 6 March) to detail the Government's fiscal plan for the next 12-months.

Ahead of the budget, trade bodies and operators from across the sector have called for business rates support and a reduction to the rate of VAT for hospitality firms as well as a freeze to duty rates to help businesses mitigate rising costs.

Read more about what the industry needs to see from the Chancellor later today here​.


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