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Mini-Budget 2022 latest: Tax cuts for rich are ‘Robin Hood in reverse’, unions say

The energy bill package will cost £60bn in the first six months, says Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng

Kwasi Kwarteng has unveiled a list of tax cuts in a mini-Budget which unions have called “Robin Hood in reverse”.

The chancellor is facing criticism that his plans – which include scrapping the highest rate of income tax and the bonus cap for bankers – largely benefit the richest in society.

A planned increase in corporation tax on big business profit has also been axed in the mini-Budget.

Frances O’Grady from the TUC, which represents trade unions across the country, said Liz Truss and her chancellor were “holding down wages and lining the pockets of big corporations and City bankers.

She added: “This budget is Robin Hood in reverse.”

The mini-Budget – which has been sold as a “growth plan” for the UK economy – comes amid a cost of living crisis driven by soaring inflation, rocketing energy bills and wages failing to keep up with these increases.

Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, said it was “a plan to reward the already wealthy” rather than to grow the economy.

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Opinion: Mini-Budget is huge, risky and ideological

“This is an experiment conducted in real time in the world’s sixth largest economy – an economy that has not been performing very well for the past decade,” Hamish McRae writes.

Read his take on the mini-Budget here:

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Gordon Brown: Billions ‘lavished’ on the rich at the expense of the poor

Gordon Brown is not a fan of the mini-Budget, saying millions will suffer “not because we are a poor country” but an “ever more unequal one”.

“The gap between rich and poor continues to widen as the government lavishes billions on the already wealthy at the expense of the new poor,” he tweeted.

The former Labor prime minister said the removal of the bonus cap for bankers, cuts to corporation tax and rejection of further windfall tax on energy giants will “mercilessly underline that a winter of destitution” for millions.

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‘Vast void’ in Kwarteng plan, says senior Tory

Senior Tories have shared their fears about Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s tax-cutting agenda.

Former Treasury minister John Glen said there were “irreconcilable realities” in the plans to borrow more cash to cut tax at the same time as inflation was rising.

Mel Stride – chair of the Treasury select committee – said there was “a vast void” at the center of the plan because of the lack of an independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast.

The Rishi Sunak supporter said an OBR assessment was vital if the government was to make changes “in a fiscally responsible manner”.

The government has committed to an OBR forecast before Christmas, followed by another forecast before the end of the financial year in spring.

A proper budget was expected in November. But the Treasury officials would not commit to a proper budget by Christmas – saying only it would happen “within this financial year”.

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Opinion: Kwarteng is at the wheel of the Budget like a boy racer

“Watching Kwasi Kwarteng leaning hard into his growth argument – ​​hoarse and at times gabbling his way through his budget-that-isn’t-a-budget – I wondered what he reminded me of,” Sean O’Grady writes.

“Then, with all his talk of ‘unleashing’ economic potential and ‘unshackling the creative energies’ of the UK I realized: a boy racer who suddenly finds himself in charge of a supercar, and really can’t believe his luck.”

Find his thoughts on the mini-Budget here:

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‘Robin Hood in reverse’

Union leaders have been scathing about the mini-budget’s tax cuts for the rich – calling it “Robin Hood in reverse”.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng were “holding down wages and lining the pockets of big corporations and City bankers”.

She added: “This budget is Robin Hood in reverse.”

Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said: “The government has ditched leveling up for an all-out offensive to make the wealthiest even richer.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said it was “unashamedly a budget for the rich, big business and the City… whilst millions of ordinary families continue to struggle to make ends meet”.

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What does the axed top rate for income tax mean?

High earners getting more than £150,000 a year will no longer pay the top income tax rate of 45 per cent and will instead pay the 40 per cent rate paid by those earning over £50,000.

It means those earning over £150,000 will enjoy an average tax cut worth £10,000 a year, according to Treasury officials.

The government loses out on more than £2bn a year from the plans to cut tax for the 629,000 people in the top tax bracket.

More in Adam Forrest‘s piece here:

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What is a stamp duty holiday?

Kwasi Kwarteng announced the introduction of a new stamp duty holiday in the mini-budget today.

Joe Sommelier takes a look at what this means:

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Super-rich will be ‘laughing all the way to the bank’, says Sturgeon

SNP leader and Scotland’s first minister said the super-rich will be “laughing all the way to the actual bank” after the chancellor unveiled his tax-cutting plans – accusing the Tory government of “moral bankruptcy”.

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Rich to enjoy lion’s share of tax cuts

Liz Truss and her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng were accused of producing an “trickle down” economic plan helping the “already wealthy” after announcing a raft of tax cuts which benefit the rich the most, Adam Forrest reports:

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‘I’ve got a joke about trickle-down economics…’

Labour’s David Lammy has tweeted this after the mini-budget:

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