A BOURNEMOUTH law firm has said the chancellor’s Autumn Statement is a “missed opportunity” full of “safe” pledges. 

Kelly Greig, partner and head of estate planning and tax at the law firm Steele Raymond, said Jeremy Hunt should have gone “further and faster” but didn’t. 

She welcomed the pledge to reduce National Insurance contributions by two per cent from January, an increased national living wage to £11.44, an extension of Universal Credit, and increasing the state pension by 8.5 per cent. 

However, she said they all contributed to a “safe list of measures in the run-up to an election”. 

Ms Greig added: “Covid has proved to many employers that work can be delivered just as effectively from home, as it can in a workplace.   

“Recognising this, the chancellor announced that he would reform the work capacity assessment, to reflect this shift and mandate employers to offer working from home arrangements, as part of the assessment. 

“In the pipeline, but still for consultation, is forcing new employers to pay employer pension contributions into existing pension pots, which will simplify the process and ease the administration burden on employees. 

“Billed by the chancellor as an autumn statement for growth, I feel that he’s tinkered with several measures, to appease voters, but has missed an opportunity to go much further to make significant improvements for individuals and businesses alike.”  

Mr Hunt used his Autumn Statement to announce tax cuts, tighter welfare rules, and further measures aimed at getting more people into work. 

The speech, delivered to the Commons on Wednesday, is the Chancellor’s main opportunity outside the budget to make tax and spending announcements. 

Mr Hunt used the statement to introduce changes aimed at reviving the UK’s struggling economy and the Tories’ election chances. 

The chancellor also confirmed that a tax break allowing firms to cut their tax bills if the invest in new equipment will be made permanent in what he claimed was the “biggest business tax cut in modern history”. 

He said his plan will “raise business investment, get more people into work, reduce inflation” and increase the size of the economy.