Autumn statement: 5 things to expect in Osborne’s cut & thrust budget

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne © Ben Birchall
On Wednesday morning, Chancellor George Osborne will reveal his revised budget as he attempts to ease the impact of austerity on public spending amid criticism his plan to reduce the deficit is hurting Britain’s poorest families.

Osborne is expected to prioritize defense spending, the National Health Service (NHS), housing and foreign aid, with other services including police, transport, justice and the environment sacrificed to make up the shortfall.

RT examines what voters can expect from the autumn statement.

Tax credit cuts

Following a humiliating rebellion in the House of Lords, Osborne has been forced to alter his plans to cut £4.4 billion from tax credits and is expected to announce measures to ease the implementation and impact of the cuts.

Tax credits are a means of redistributing income to people with children or on lower wages. Without them, many families are likely to fall into poverty.

Osborne previously said he needs to cut £20 billion from public spending and raise £12 billion from welfare to meet his target of eradicating the deficit by 2020.

Affordable housing?

The chancellor will promise to double the housing budget in the hope of pleasing younger voters currently unable to get on the housing ladder.

He is expected to say: “In the end, spending reviews like this come down to choices about what your priorities are. And I am clear: in this spending review, we choose housing. Above all, we choose homes that people can buy.”

Privatization for profit

As part of Osborne’s overall plan to hand public assets over to the private sector (often at a knocked-down price), and make them work harder to raise revenue, he is likely to put pressure on transport networks and the Ministry of Defence to make more profitable use of the land they own.

Public services cuts

In order to fund the extra spending on housing, the NHS and defense, Osborne will announce yet another round of cuts to other public services.

Bearing the brunt are the police, who are preparing to attack Home Secretary Theresa May for failing to protect their budget. They will argue the ‘severe’ terror threat facing Britain makes any cut to policing budgets dangerous.

More power for the North

In order to keep his promise of a “Northern Powerhouse,” Osborne is expected to announce further devolution of powers from central government to the North of England including powers over transport, planning, skills and employment. These will be given to local councils, which will also be handed more control over their budgets.