CBI chief warns Jeremy Hunt did ‘nothing’ to boost growth in Autumn Statement as poll finds a quarter of Brits are ‘struggling’ to get by even before huge tax raid bites

Jeremy Hunt did ‘nothing’ to boost growth in the Autumn Statement and will have to ‘come back’ with more plans, the head of the CBI warned today.

Tony Danker said he hoped the Chancellor intended a ‘part two’ of the package to avoid another decade of low productivity.

The grim assessment came as a poll found a quarter of Britons are already struggling with their financial situation, even before the government’s huge tax raid takes effect.

However, in a bright spot for Mr Hunt the Opinium research detected narrow backing for the plans overall, with 31 per cent approving and 24 per cent disapproving.

Rishi Sunak is expected to address business leaders at the CBI conference tomorrow. 

Tony Danker said he hoped the Chancellor intended a ‘part two’ of the package to avoid another decade of low productivity

The grim assessment came as a poll found a quarter of Britons are already struggling with their financial situation, even before the government’s huge tax raid takes effect

Mr Hunt (picturede giving interviews on Friday) did ‘nothing’ to boost growth in the Autumn Statement and will have to ‘come back’ with more plans, the head of the CBI warned today

Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg show, Mr Danker said: ‘I’m going to give Jeremy Hunt, who I thought did a good job with a bad hand… a bit of slack.

‘I like to think this was part one of a part two Autumn Statement. Part one was all about stability, all about fighting inflation and getting the government budget in some shape.

‘But there was really nothing there that tells us the economy is going to avoid another decade of low productivity and low growth.

‘That is the worry. Jeremy Hunt did some things which be very welcome, but he also made businesses and everybody pay more taxes.

‘So the fear is there just wasn’t enough there to say we can grow again… I don’t think he did enough. I think he is going to have to come back with more on growth.’

Eight million Britons – nearly one in six adults – will be paying the higher rate of tax within five years after Mr Hunt’s brutal ‘stealth raid’, according to economists.

The respected IFS think-tank pointed out on Friday that the tax burden is set to reach a new post-war peak, and will be the equivalent of £100billion a year higher by 2027-28 than it has been for most of the past 70 years. 

Director Paul Johnson warned that ‘Middle England’ is in for a ‘shock’, giving a grim assessment that ‘the truth is we just got a lot poorer’. 

The IFS predicted a surge in the number of higher rate taxpayers, while the OBR said living standards will see the biggest falls on record this year and next  

He blamed the government for a ‘series of economic own goals’ including the Liz Truss mini-Budget and Brexit, saying the country is entering a ‘new era’ of higher taxes. ‘I would be most surprised if the tax burden gets back down to its long term pre Covid average at any time in the coming decades,’ he said. ‘Higher taxes look to be here to stay.’ 

Mr Hunt has insisted ministers are doing ‘everything’ to help families with the looming slump in living standards – predicted to be the worst since records began in 1956. In real terms, wages are not expected to return to 2008 levels until after 2027. 

He dismissed fury from his own MPs and argued that people vote for governments because they take ‘difficult’ decisions.

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