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Julian Assange formally admits spying charge as part of a plea deal with US authorities | World News

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has pleaded guilty to one count of espionage as part of a plea deal with US authorities.

His court appearance took place on the US territory of Saipan. He left the UK on Monday after being released on bail from Belmarsh high security jail.

Addressing the court, Assange said that he broke US law by encouraging classified leaks, but said he believed the Espionage Act violates free speech.

As per the deal, the judge sentenced Assange to time already served in a British prison and told him he would be able to leave court a free man.

The US request to extradite the WikiLeaks founder on spying charges has been dropped and he is now on his way to his home country of Australia to be reunited with his wife Stella and their two children, Gabriel and Max.

Mrs Assange posted on X after her husband walked out of court: “Julian walks out of Saipan federal court a free man. I can’t stop crying.”

Julian Assange, middle, leaves the court in Saipan. Pic: Reuters
Julian Assange, middle, leaves the court in Saipan. Pic: Reuters

Julian Assange leaves the federal court in Saipan Pic: AP
Julian Assange leaves the federal court. Pic: AP

WikiLeaks said Assange is expected to arrive in the Australian capital of Canberra at 6.41pm local time (9.41am GMT).

The 52-year-old arrived at court in a dark suit, with a loosened tie, after flying from Stansted Airport in London on a charter plane and stopping to refuel in Bangkok.

The flight cost him $500,000 (£394,000) with Mrs Assange calling for “emergency” donations to cover the “massive debt” for the jet.

She said her husband was “not permitted to fly commercial airlines or routes to Saipan and onward to Australia” and any contribution would be “much appreciated”.

Inside court, Assange answered basic questions from judge Ms Manglona and appeared to listen intently as terms of the deal were discussed.

Read more:
Timeline of Assange’s 13-year legal battle
Plea deal marks end of a transatlantic tug of war

Artist’s threat to destroy masterpieces ‘helped free Assange’

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrives at a United States District Court in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S., June 26, 2024. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Assange arriving at court. Pic: Reuters

A map showing Julian Assange's journey from the UK to Australia
A map showing Julian Assange’s journey from the UK to Australia

As a condition of his plea, he will be required to destroy information that was provided to WikiLeaks.

Assange left court in a white SUV without speaking to reporters, but his lawyer Jennifer Robinson said it was because of support around the globe that “today’s outcome is possible”.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gets into a vehicle outside United States District Court following a hearing, in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S., June 26, 2024. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Assange didn’t speak to reporters as he left court. Pic: Reuters

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Julian Assange’s father awaits son’s arrival

She said: “Julian has suffered for more than 14 years because of risk of extradition to the US… today he pleaded guilty to an offence for having published information in the public interest… this sets a dangerous precedent, this prosecution sets a dangerous precedent.”

Thanking Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Ms Robinson said he “did what he needed to do to ensure Julian’s freedom”.

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Julian Assange released from prison

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Mr Albanese has publicly supported Assange as leader of the Australian Labour Party and as prime minister. He said in a statement earlier on Wednesday: “Regardless of what your views about Mr Assange’s activities, his case has dragged on for too long.

“There is nothing to be gained from his continued incarceration and we want him brought home to Australia.”

The hearing took place in Saipan – the US Commonwealth territory – because of Assange’s opposition to travelling to one of the 50 US states and the court’s proximity to Australia.

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The US department of justice said following his sentencing, Assange will leave the US and will be “prohibited from returning” without permission.

American prosecutors had alleged Assange put lives at risk when he helped former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal diplomatic cables and military files WikiLeaks put online in 2010.

He had been locked in a legal battle in the UK over his extradition, which included him entering the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in 2012 prior to his detention in Belmarsh – where he had been since May 2019.

UK Home Office spokesperson said this morning: “The US government has agreed to withdraw their extradition request for Julian Assange following his conviction in a US court on 26 June UK time. This longstanding extradition request has now been resolved.

“It is in our national interest to have effective extradition relationships. As is standard practice as soon as an extradition request is made it is dealt with on an individual basis in accordance with UK law.”

Rishi Sunak admits Tories may not win general election and claims UK heading for hung parliament | Politics News

Rishi Sunak has admitted the Tories may not win the general election after grim defeats in the local polls.

The prime minister suggested the UK was on course for a hung parliament and claimed voters would not want to see Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer “propped up in Downing Street” by the SNP or smaller parties.

In an interview with The Times, Mr Sunak pointed to Sky News analysis of the local election results by election expert Professor Michael Thrasher which suggested Labour would be the largest party in a hung parliament.

Politics live: PM told to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ after elections

“These results suggest we are heading for a hung parliament with Labour as the largest party,” Mr Sunak told the paper.

“Keir Starmer propped up in Downing Street by the SNP, Liberal Democrats and the Greens would be a disaster for Britain.

“The country doesn’t need more political horse-trading, but action. We are the only party that has a plan to deliver on the priorities of the people.”

Meanwhile, Tory rebels have warned the prime minister to change his political course after the weekend’s local election results.

Read more:
The local election winners and losers
Charts tell story of Conservative collapse

Analysis: Labour’s future success is less clear-cut

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PM on ‘disappointing’ election results

Sunak urged to take party towards right

Former home secretary Suella Braverman urged him to mould the party towards the right in order to win back voters.

But she told the BBC a change of leadership was not a “feasible prospect,” adding: “There is no superman or superwoman out there who can do it.”

Ms Braverman urged the prime minister to adopt several measures to win back voters, including further tax cuts and a cap on legal migration.

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Rishi Sunak ‘up for the fight’ in general election

Tories ‘up for the fight,’ minister insists

But Transport Secretary Mark Harper insisted Mr Sunak and the Tories are “up for the fight” of a general election despite their terrible results in the local contests.

Talking to Sky News’ Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips, the minister said: “I think the key thing that people need to do now is get behind the prime minister, focus on the things the government is focused on delivering – the British people’s priorities around the economy, dealing with migration – and get out there and take that fight to the country ahead of the general election.”

Labour won 1,158 seats in the 107 councils in England that held elections on 2 May, an increase of more than 232.

The Liberal Democrats won 552 seats, up nearly 100, while the Tories came in third place on 515 seats, down nearly 400.

Man admits killing 87-year-old who was fatally stabbed while riding mobility scooter | UK News

A man has admitted killing an 87-year-old mobility scooter rider in west London.

Lee Byer stabbed Thomas O’Halloran to death in Greenford in a “motiveless attack”.

A post-mortem found the victim had suffered multiple stab wounds to the neck, chest and abdomen in August 2022.

Mr O’Halloran, a grandfather who was originally from Co Clare in Ireland, was said to be a passionate musician and was described as “very popular” in Greenford, often busking for charity.

Byer, of no fixed address, denied murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility on Monday and having an offensive weapon.

Prosecutor Gareth Patterson KC accepted the pleas after mental health reports found the 45-year-old was psychotic, hearing voices, suffering from paranoid delusions and paranoid schizophrenia.

He said the defendant’s mental state provided an explanation for what was a “motiveless attack”.

On the afternoon of 16 August 2022, a member of the public found the victim on his scooter who told them he had been stabbed, with his wounds clearly visible, the Old Bailey previously heard.

Mr O’Halloran had been coming from a passageway that runs between Runnymede Gardens and Welland Gardens, and the passer-by called the police soon after 4pm.

Despite being given first aid by members of the public and later police and medics, Mr O’Halloran was pronounced at the scene at 4.54pm.

File pic: PA
Police at the scene of the fatal attack in Greenford, west London, in August 2022. Pic: PA

He and the defendant were seen on CCTV heading towards the passageway where their paths crossed.

Apart from Byer, no-one else went in or out of the area when the victim was attacked, the footage showed.

When he left the passageway, a knife could be seen in Byer’s hand.

He was caught on camera putting a knife handle in a drain in Haymill Close on the way back to his mother’s house. Forensic analysis discovered the victim’s blood on the handle, but the blade was not never found.

In police interviews following his arrest at his mother’s home on 18 August, he denied being the suspect caught on CCTV, claiming he was in his mum’s garden or the park at the time.

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Clothes matching those seen on CCTV were found in a search of the property as well as a knife set with handles similar to the one found in the drain.

Months before the killing, footage on social media showed Mr O’Halloran busking as he raised money for Ukraine.

At the time of his death, Fine Gael senator Martin Conway said the victim had regularly visited Ireland and that his death had left his home community in Ennistymon in “deep shock and sadness”.

“Tommy, as he was known, left Ennistymon for London 71 years ago but travelled home almost every year until about 10 years ago,” he said.

Mr O’Halloran was survived by his family, including his sister, two brothers, nieces and nephews.

Old Bailey Judge Mark Lucraft adjourned sentencing until 10 May.

Liz Truss refuses to apologise for sparking mortgage rate rise – but admits one failing as PM | Politics News

Liz Truss has acknowledged she and her government lost the confidence of financial markets following the mini-budget of October 2022 – but has refused to apologise to homeowners for higher interest rates.

Talking to Sky News, the former prime minister blamed her downfall on the Bank of England, primarily governor Andrew Bailey. However, she said she did not meet Mr Bailey once during her time in office.

“I actually had a meeting set up – I wanted to meet him,” she said. “But I was advised that would be a bad idea. And perhaps I shouldn’t have taken that advice.

“But that advice came from the cabinet secretary and what I didn’t want to do is further exacerbate the [market] problems.

“In retrospect, yes, I probably should have spoken directly to the governor of the Bank of England at the time.”

Follow live – latest politics news

Asked about the aftermath of the mini-budget, at which her chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced a series of unfunded tax cuts, without presenting evidence of how he would pay for them, Ms Truss said: “It’s fair to say that the government did not have the confidence of the markets…

“But if you have organisations within the state, like the Bank of England, like the Office of Budget Responsibility, who are pretty clear to people they don’t support the policies that are being pursued and are essentially undermining those policies, then it is difficult to command the confidence in the markets – because the markets look to the government for that leadership.”

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A look back: Truss’s time as PM

During Ms Truss’s short time in office, the expected path for the Bank’s interest rate a year ahead rose from below 4% to around 6%.

While those rates were increasing before the fiscal event, they shot up dramatically in the wake of the mini-budget, rising even further when, a few days later, Mr Kwarteng promised even more tax cuts.

That sharp increase in interest rates precipitated a short-lived crisis in UK financial markets, which triggered the near collapse of liability-driven investment (LDI) funds which underlie the pension market.

Asked whether she would apologise for the sharp rise in interest rates during her time in office, Ms Truss said: “I question the premise of what you’re asking me, because mortgage rates have gone up across the world.

“The issues that I faced in office, were issues of not being able to deliver the agenda because of a deep resistance within the establishment.”

More from Sky News:
Resignations and rebellions in less than 50 days as PM
Truss memoir breaks Cabinet Office rules

Liz Truss beside Kwasi Kwarteng at the mini-budget announcement in September 2022. Pic: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via Reuters
Liz Truss beside Kwasi Kwarteng at the mini-budget announcement in September 2022. Pic: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via Reuters

She continued: “I think it’s wrong to suggest that I’m responsible for British people paying higher mortgages. That is something that has happened in every country in the free world.

“I’m not saying that I got everything absolutely perfect in the way the policy was communicated. But what I am saying is I faced real resistance and actions by the Bank of England that undermine my policy and created the problems in the market.”

Ms Truss was talking to Sky News in Washington DC on the US leg of her publicity tour for her new book, Ten Years To Save the West.

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Since publication it has emerged that one of the quotes she used in the book, attributed to Mayer Amschel Rothschild, is in fact a fake quote, often used in an antisemitic context.

Ms Truss said: “I’m very sorry about that. It was a complete mistake. It was something I found online and I’ve said I’m very sorry to the British Board of Deputies for that.

“It will be removed from all future editions of the book and removed from the Online Edition.”

Asked whether she feels more at home in the US than in the UK these days, she said: “Well, I do like aspects of American politics. I believe that on economics the US has got it more right than the UK has.

“My heart’s in Britain. But I think you’ve got to be prepared to learn from other countries that have that success.”

You can watch the full interview with the former prime minister on Sky News’s Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips programme from 8.30am this morning. Trevor is also joined by Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Claire Coutinho, shadow justice secretary Shabana Mahmood and Reform UK leader Richard Tice.

Tory William Wragg admits giving MPs’ personal phone numbers to someone he met on dating app | Politics News

Senior Conservative MP William Wragg has admitted giving the personal phone numbers of fellow MPs to someone he met on a dating app, according to a report in The Times.

The MP for Hazel Grove told the newspaper: “They had compromising things on me. They wouldn’t leave me alone.

“They would ask for people. I gave them some numbers, not all of them. I told him to stop. He’s manipulated me and now I’ve hurt other people.

“I got chatting to a guy on an app and we exchanged pictures. We were meant to meet up for drinks, but then didn’t.

“Then he started asking for numbers of people. I was worried because he had stuff on me. He gave me a WhatsApp number, which doesn’t work now. I’ve hurt people by being weak.

“I was scared. I’m mortified. I’m so sorry that my weakness has caused other people hurt.”

It has been reported this week that a serving minister, some MPs, party staffers and political journalists were among those who received unsolicited messages from two unknown WhatsApp users.

A Leicestershire Police spokesperson said they were investigating a report of malicious communications after a number of unsolicited messages were sent to a Leicestershire MP last month.

A Parliamentary spokesperson said: “Parliament takes security extremely seriously and works closely with government in response to such incidents.

“We provide members and staff with tailored advice, making them aware of security risks and how to manage their digital safety. We are encouraging anyone affected who has concerns to contact the Parliamentary Security Department.”

Abolishing national insurance could take ‘several parliaments’, minister admits | Politics News

A minister has admitted that the government’s desire to scrap national insurance could take “several parliaments” to achieve as confusion over the policy mounts.

In his budget earlier this week, Jeremy Hunt slashed national insurance by 2p and said the government intended to scrap payments entirely, branding them “unfair” and a “double taxation” on work.

However, following a backlash and questions from Labour over how abolishing the tax would be funded, the chancellor admitted his plans would not happen “any time soon”.

And speaking to Sky News this morning, Gareth Davies, exchequer secretary to the Treasury, conceded that enacting the policy may take “several parliaments” – potentially at least a decade – to achieve.

“The starting point is that we think there’s a fundamental unfairness that if you work in a job you pay two types of tax; you pay income tax and you pay national insurance contributions,” he said.

Politics latest: ‘Pretty good innings’: Minister pays tribute to Theresa May as former PM to quit parliament

“So what we want to do, what we’ve demonstrated at the last two fiscal events, is that we want to get national insurance contributions down to the extent that we remove the unfairness over time.

“The long-term ambition, it may take several parliaments, but the long-term ambition is to remove that unfairness.”

Mixed messages

Mr Davies’ comments add to the confusion surrounding the policy after two ministers appeared to contradict each other this week.

Treasury minister Bim Afolami told Politics Hub With Sophy Ridge on Wednesday that the government wants to “eliminate” national insurance entirely.

But on Thursday, Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said his “understanding” was the government aspires to bring down national insurance and taxes more generally over time.

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‘We want to eliminate National Insurance’

Mr Hunt said that while the government wanted to “end the unfairness” of taxing work twice when other firms of income are taxed only once, it would only do so “when it’s possible to bring down taxes without increasing borrowing, while also prioritising public services”.

He also suggested income tax and national insurance could be merged.

Asked whether the government wanted to merge income tax and national insurance, Mr Davies said: “We keep all these things under review, but we want to remove the unfairness of having two taxes for those in work.”

According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, the independent public finances forecaster, income tax brought in £251bn in 2022-23, while national insurance brought in £177bn.

How much will it cost?

Labour has demanded the chancellor reveal how much his plan to scrap national insurance would cost, after its own estimates suggested the move could require an outlay of £46bn a year – equivalent to £230bn over a five-year parliament.

The party has argued such a move could prove more costly than the £45bn package of unfunded tax cuts announced by Liz Truss in her 2022 mini-budget which unleashed economic chaos and upended her premiership.

Darren Jones MP, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “Another day, another new claim from a Treasury minister over their £46bn unfunded tax cut.

Read more:
Electoral Dysfunction: Budget did little to defuse ticking time bomb for local councils
‘Nothing has changed’: Sunak quashes speculation of May general election

“And yet we still haven’t heard a word about how they plan to pay for it. If they are going to continue to confirm it is their policy, they should explain where the money is coming from.

“Another five years under Rishi Sunak risks re-running the disastrous Liz Truss experiment, which crashed the economy and sent mortgages rocketing for working people.”

A Number 10 source said the government would “make progress as rapidly as we can” and pointed to the reductions in national insurance that have already been made.

The Treasury also said Mr Davies’ timeline reflected the existing position.

Post Office scandal: Former Fujitsu head admits ‘Fort Knox’ comment on Horizon system | UK News

The former head of the company at the heart of the Post Office scandal has admitted he described the Horizon IT system as “Fort Knox”.

Duncan Tait, who was Fujitsu’s chief executive between 2011 and 2014, made the comments to his Post Office counterpart Paula Vennells, who returned her CBE earlier this month.

Fort Knox is a highly secure US army building in the state of Kentucky. Its gold vault is surrounded by thick granite walls that are topped by a bombproof roof.

Hundreds of sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses were prosecuted over claims they were stealing from the Post Office – but the missing money was actually due to Horizon software errors.

“As I have said before, I am appalled by the harsh treatment of the sub-postmasters and postmistresses,” Mr Tait said in a statement to Sky News, as a public inquiry remains ongoing.

“As the public inquiry is already aware, I did refer to Fort Knox in a conversation with Paula Vennells.”

Last Tuesday, the current chief executive of Europe for Fujitsu Services Paul Patterson admitted there was remote access to the Horizon system, despite repeated Post Office denials.

Nick Read, chief executive of the Post Office since 2019, denied he was aware, adding: “I’ve only been in the organisation since 2019, so it’s difficult for me to comment.”

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Britain’s biggest miscarriages of justice

Mr Tait said his comments were “in relation to the cyber and physical security of Horizon” and was “unrelated to the remote access issue”.

“I fully support the inquiry and it would be inappropriate for me to comment further, ahead of giving my evidence,” he said.

“This has been a terrible miscarriage of justice and like others at Fujitsu, I am sorry for the damage that has been done to the sub-postmasters and postmistresses’ lives and any role that Fujitsu played in that.”

The multinational is in the spotlight due to its role in miscarriages of justice – with recent ITV drama Mr Bates Vs The Post Office renewing public interest in the issue and sparking outrage.

Read more:
Horizon IT system had bugs since 1999
Horizon system ‘still causing mystery shortfalls’

Days after the show aired, Rishi Sunak announced those wrongly prosecuted in England and Wales could have their names cleared by the end of the year under fast-tracked legislation.

Those whose convictions are quashed are eligible for a £600,000 compensation payment, while Mr Sunak offered £75,000 to sub-postmasters involved in group legal action against the Post Office.

Lawyers have said that hundreds more victims could now come forward.

But campaigners, including former subpostmaster Alan Bates who was at the centre of the ITV drama Mr Bates Vs The Post Office, hit out at the “madness” of delays at processing compensation claims.

Luke Littler opens up on ‘crazy’ darts journey and admits he only trains for 30 minutes a day | UK News

Luke Littler, who lost the World Darts Championship final, has said his journey in the competition has been “crazy” and “hopes to get back to reality” – as he admitted only training for “half an hour a day”.

The 16-year-old, who took the tournament by storm, said his time in the competition has been “unbelievable,” adding, “getting to the final was the bigger bonus”.

When asked by reporters how long he trains every day, Littler said between 30 and 45 minutes a day, as any more “gets boring” – as he trains on his own.

He joked, there “must be a lot of natural talent, [because I] don’t practise”.

And passing advice to anyone trying to succeed in the game, Littler said: “Just keep at it. If you love the game. Keep at it, make friends, and stick to the board.”

Who is Luke Littler?

Luke Littler in action against Brendan Dolan
Littler took the lead in the final but lost in straight sets

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Littler denied fairytale win

Littler also reaffirmed darts “is a sport” – and said his “rollercoaster” journey has seen him receive messages from players from his favourite football team, Manchester United, including Luke Shaw, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones.

As Littler bears down on 800,000 Instagram followers, he called the social media explosion “crazy” adding, “I’ve just got to get on with it. You have just got to get used to it all”.

The teen, who lost in the final at Alexandra Palace to world number one Luke Humphries on Wednesday night, added he was looking forward to getting back to reality and would “chill out” and have some “private time” with his family.

He hopes the clamour surrounding his feat “dies down” as he goes back to Warrington, Cheshire, where fans have reportedly gathered around his house.

Nevertheless, Littler said he enjoyed the whole experience from the very first game to the chants of “there’s only one Luke Littler”.

“The Nuke” Littler also congratulated 28-year-old world champion Humphries saying he “deserved it” as the “better man on the night”.

Luke Littler has lost the World Darts Championship final to Luke Humphries
The pair embraced at the end of a hard-fought match

The teenager was on course for a spectacular victory commanding a 4-2 lead over Humphries, but the world number one fought back to win 7-4, claiming the title along with £500,000 in winnings.

Despite his defeat, life will change for the young darts player, who pocketed a £200,000 prize for finishing second and has got even more earning power owing to his celebrity status.

The line-up for the Premier League is released on Thursday – and Littler could be among those chosen.

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Autumn Statement 2023: Jeremy Hunt admits it will ‘take time’ to bring taxes down | Politics News

Jeremy Hunt has acknowledged it will “take time” to bring taxes down, but he had “made a start” with his autumn statement.

The chancellor admitted the tax take – the total the government collects – stood at £45bn, outstripping the benefits of the cuts announced in the fiscal event.

The headline-grabbing announcement in Mr Hunt’s statement was that the main 12% national insurance rate would fall to 10% from 6 January – saving those on an average salary of £35,000 more than £450 a year.

Politics news – latest: Tory MPs ‘convinced’ autumn statement hints at timing of next election

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Chancellor announces national insurance cut

The chancellor also abolished Class 2 national insurance payments for the self-employed to show the government “values their work”.

Mr Hunt sought to portray the autumn statement as a tax giveaway in light of the NI cuts – worth £9bn – but economists have pointed out that the overall tax burden remains at a record high because of the continued freeze on tax thresholds.

In an interview with Sky News’ political editor Beth Rigby, the chancellor conceded that “taxes go up from freezing thresholds”.

He said: “If you’re trying to say that it’s going to take time to get taxes down to the level they were, then I agree.

“But what I said was when it was responsible to do so, when it wouldn’t affect inflation, I would make a start.

“We’ve done that today and we are a party that believes if we want to grow the economy, then we need to have a lightly taxed economy, and we’ve made a step which, by the way, for someone on average earnings is going to be about £450 – so it’s not insignificant.”

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UK growth ‘a dead end’ under Tories

Mr Hunt was asked whether he could call the statement a tax giveaway given that the £45bn tax take “dwarfed” the effects of the national insurance cuts.

“Have you taxed more, or cut taxes more?”

“We have put taxes up because it was the right thing to do to support families,” Mr Hunt replied.

Pressed again on whether taxes have been going up or down under the government, the chancellor said: “Taxes have gone up and we are starting to bring them down.”

Mr Hunt also denied that taxes had gone up in part to “clear up the mess” of the previous government under Liz Truss, pointing instead to the “once-in-a-century pandemic” and “energy shock” caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Read more:
Top announcements at a glance
See if you are better or worse off

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Analysis: Autumn Statement 2023

Forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility, released after the statement, showed taxes are still trending upwards – with a post-war high of 37.7% set to be reached by 2028/29 under the current government plans.

The body put this down to so-called “fiscal drag” – with people drawn into higher tax brackets as their pay increases.

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According to the OBR, by 2028/29, frozen thresholds will result in nearly four million additional workers paying income tax – with three million more moved to the higher rate and 400,000 more paying the additional rate.

Mr Hunt was rumoured to have considered income tax cuts in the autumn statement, but it is thought he may defer this to the March budget next year.

Asked whether he would use that opportunity to cut income tax, he replied: “If it’s responsible to do so, if we can do so without increasing borrowing, then of course, as a Conservative, I would like to bring down the tax burden – but I will only do so in a responsible way and one that doesn’t fuel inflation after the great success we’ve had in halving it.”

Ex-Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone admits fraud | UK News

Ex-Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has pleaded guilty to fraud over a failure to declare £400m held in a trust in Singapore to the government.

Ecclestone, who turns 93 later this month, was due to face trial at Southwark Crown Court in November after previously denying the charge.

The billionaire appeared at the same court today wearing a dark grey suit, supported by his third wife, Fabiana Flosi, to plead guilty to a single count of fraud on 7 July 2015.

The court has previously heard he failed to declare a trust in Singapore with a bank account containing around 650 million US dollars, worth about £400 million at the time.

Prosecutors said Ecclestone made untrue or misleading representations to HM Revenue and Customers at a July 2015
meeting, when he said he “established only a single trust” in favour of his daughters Deborah, Tamara and Petra.

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