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What time is today’s Budget announcement? How to watch and what to expect

It has been reported that key components will likely include funded childcare that will be extended to cover one and two-year olds, as well as an assurance that the energy price guarantee will be extended until June.

It is also likely the over-50s, the long-term sick, and the disabled will be ”encouraged” to go back into the workplace, with sanctions being ramped up.

Here’s what you need to know about when the budget will be announced and how to watch it.

When will the budget be announced?

Mr Hunt’s speech will be delivered on Wednesday (March 15) around 12.30pm and is expected to last about an hour.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will issue his response in the Commons immediately afterwards.

How can I watch the budget?

It will be shown live on major news channels such as BBC News and Sky News, with full details to be published on the Treasury’s website.

What should I expect from the budget?

The Treasury has confirmed that the energy price guarantee will be extended for a further three months from April to June, at its current level.

This is the average annual cap in bills at £2,500 – so the new measure will save a typical household around £160.

The “prepayment penalty” for energy bills, which sees households with prepayment meters charged more than those on direct debit, will be ended.

In addition, tax on fuel is expected to be frozen, for both the duty applied to it and VAT.

There will be an increase in the tax-free lifetime allowance (LTA) on pension savings, reported to rise from £1.07 million to as much as £1.8 million.

While a multibillion-pound expansion of 30 hours’ free childcare for one- and two-year-olds is set to be announced, according to reports.

Mr Hunt is expected to reference the “difficult decisions” taken last November to stabilise the markets, following the short-lived premiership of Liz Truss, as he pitches a plan the Government hopes can deliver “sustainable” growth.

It is thought he will invest £63 million to help leisure centres with swimming pools meet energy costs and become more efficient.

Furthermore, 12 investment zones will be created – eight in England, four in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland – benefiting from tax breaks, each backed by £80 million over five years.

Mr Hunt will pledge to tackle labour shortages and get people back to work, by ramping-up sanctions for claimants who do not look for or take up employment.

Mr Hunt is expected to say: “Today, we deliver the next part of our plan: a Budget for growth.

“Not just growth from emerging out of a downturn. But long-term, sustainable, healthy growth that pays for our NHS and schools, finds good jobs for young people, provides a safety net for older people… all whilst making our country one of the most prosperous in the world.”

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