The government has also pledged to end the extra costs
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivered his first Spring Budget, which he called a “Budget for growth”.
Mr Hunt said the UK will not enter a “technical recession” in 2023.
He said: “We remain vigilant, and will not hesitate to take whatever steps are necessary for economic stability.
“Today the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast that because of changing international factors and the measures I take, the UK will not now enter a technical recession this year.
“They forecast we will meet the Prime Minister’s priorities to halve inflation, reduce debt and get the economy growing. We are following the plan and the plan is working. But that’s not all we’ve done.”
Mr Hunt then summarised his plans to deliver “growth” for the UK economy.
He said: “I deliver that today by removing obstacles that stop businesses investing; by tackling labour shortages that stop them recruiting by breaking down barriers that stop people working and by harnessing British ingenuity to make us a science and technology superpower.”
Energy Price Cap
Prior to the Budget announcement, it was revealed that the energy price cap would stay the same until June 2023.
The Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) had been due to increase to £3,000 in April.
But consumers still face having to find an extra £67 a month to pay their energy bills from April when the government’s separate Energy Bill Support Scheme – which has seen all households receive six monthly payments of £66 or £67 direct to their energy accounts – comes to an end.
The government has also pledged to end the extra costs shouldered by households on prepayment meters, saying they should not pay more than those paying by direct debit.
Jeremy Hunt said he listened to advice from Martin Lewis when extending the energy price cap.
Free Childcare Expanded
Reportedly, the government will expand 30 hours of funded childcare to cover one and two-year-olds as well as three and four-year-olds.
The government had faced increasing pressure to tackle childcare costs so high campaigners have said were forcing parents to leave their jobs.
Late in 2022, the scale of the childcare bill prompted nationwide protests, with parents taking to the streets in March of the Mummies demonstrations to call for a better deal.
No Fuel Duty Increase
Jeremy Hunt plans to spend £6 billion on maintaining the 5p fuel duty cut.
At the Spring Budget, Mr Hunt said:
“Because inflation remains high, I have decided now is not the right time to uprate fuel duty with inflation or increase the duty.
“So here’s what I am going to do: for a further 12 months I’m going to maintain the 5p cut and I’m going to freeze fuel duty too.
“That saves the average driver £100 next year and around £200 since the 5p cut was introduced.”
Previously, the government faced pressure to help motorists avoid paying more to drive their vehicles.
However, environmental campaigners wanted the government to go forward with the uplift to drive down demand for fossil fuels and meet Net Zero targets.
Pension Limits Changed
The government is expected to overhaul pension limits.
Reportedly, Mr Hunt hopes to dissuade people from choosing early retirement by increasing lifetime allowances for private pensions.
This means that until 2026, savers must begin paying additional tax after their pension savings reach £1,073,100. Mr Hunt is expected to increase that ceiling to £1.8 million.
He is also expected to increase the annual amount workers can pay into their pension pot without incurring a penalty, from the current limit of £40,000.
Boost for Swimming Pools
At the Spring Budget, Mr Hunt said he would provide a £63 million fund to “keep our public leisure centres and pools afloat.”
Facilities have faced huge energy costs to maintain facilities.
Campaigners had warned the closure of public swimming pools would impact public health.
The chancellor also confirmed £100 million will be given to support thousands of charities and community organisations.
Support for Pubs
Mr Hunt announced that a “Brexit pubs guarantee” will see the duty on draught in pubs up to 11p lower than the duty in supermarkets from August 1, 2023.
He said it was impossible to increase the “generosity” of Draught Relief, when the UK remained in the EU.
Mr Hunt said: “From August 1 the duty on draught products in pubs will be up to 11p lower than the duty in supermarkets, a differential we will maintain as part of a new Brexit pubs guarantee.
“British ale may be warm, but the duty on a pint is frozen.”
It was also announced that the government would increase tobacco duty.
New Investment Zones
Twelve investment zones have been announced, which have been labelled ’12 potential Canary Wharfs’.
Mr Hunt named nine areas in England the government had identified as having the investment centre potential, including the: West Midlands, Greater Manchester, the North East, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Midlands, Teesside and, once again, Liverpool.
Mr Hunt said there will also be at least one investment centre in each of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Mr Hunt said the government will provide a package worth more than £30 million to increase the capacity of the Office for Veterans’ Affairs.
The Chancellor said this will go toward supporting veterans with injuries returning from their service and increasing the availability of veteran housing.
Mr Hunt announced a series of levelling-up and local transport-related funding pots.
Over £200 million will be invested in local regeneration projects across England, a further £161 million for regeneration projects in Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority, and £400 million for new Levelling Up Partnerships in various areas.
Mr Hunt said: “I will invest over £200 million in high-quality local regeneration projects across England including the regeneration of Tipton town centre and the Marsden New Mills Redevelopment Scheme.
“I am also announcing a further £161 million for regeneration projects in Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority.
“And I will make over £400 million available for new Levelling Up Partnerships in areas that include Redcar and Cleveland, Blackburn, Oldham, Rochdale, Mansfield, South Tyneside, and Bassetlaw.
“Having listened to the case for better local transport infrastructure from many Members, I can announce a second round of the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements, allocating £8.8 billion over the next five-year funding period.”
The £500 million that has already been allocated to local authorities to tackle potholes would be increased by £200 million in 2024.