The government will scrap its planned 2p a litre fuel duty rise next year, announced Chancellor George Osborne in the Autumn Statement this morning (5 December).

Among its other proposals was a £2.95 per week increase in the State Pension, which would result in pensioners receiving an extra £800 per year, it said.

Osborne also revealed that employers’ National Insurance Contributions will be removed for those under the age of 21, while tax payer’s personal allowance will be raised to £10,000 next April.

To help small and medium sized business, the government has said it will be capping the inflationary increase in business rates, for all premises, at 2% from next April. Businesses will also be allowed to pay their rates in 12 monthly instalments.

Retail premises in England, with a rateable value of up to £50,000 will be entitled to a discount on business rates, worth £1,000, and the business rates relief scheme will be extended for another year, from next April.

In his statement earlier today, Osborne said: "We seek a responsible recovery. One where we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past."

He said the latest Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) figures put the actual fall in GDP, from peak to trough, between 2008-09 at 7.2%, rather than the 6.3% previously thought.

However the estimate for growth this year has been revised at +1.4%, rather than the 0.6% forecast in the March 2013 budget. This will increase to +2.4% in 2014.

Obsorne said the deficit has been cut significantly, from 11% of GDP in 2010, to 6.5%.

Unemployment is forecast to fall to 7% in 2015.

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