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  1. Is Johnson right to say July will see biggest tax cut in 10 years?

    Reality Check

    Earlier today at Prime Minister's Questions, Boris Johnson told MPs: “In July, we will have the biggest tax cut for 10 years, £330 cuts for 30 million people who are paying national insurance contributions.”

    The £330 cut he is talking about is because the point at which people start paying National Insurance is rising from earnings of £9,570 to £12,570 a year.

    The Treasury says this – along with a plan to cut income tax in 2024 – will be the biggest tax “giveaway” since 1995.

    But – if you look beyond these measures - the reductions are actually smaller than the increases in taxes the chancellor announced in the previous year.

    And the government’s independent forecaster the Office for Budget Responsibility says the overall tax burden is going to rise from 33% of GDP (a measure of the size of the economy) in 2019-20 to 36.3% of GDP in 2026-27.

    This would be the highest since the late 1940s.

    You can read more about it here.

  2. Have 30 million had a tax cut?

    Reality Check

    Boris Johnson told MPs that one of the achievements of his government had been “creating a tax cut for 30 million workers”.

    He is talking about the change in the Spring Statement, which means that from July, employees will be able to earn £12,570 before they start having to pay National Insurance, which is £2,690 more than they were previously able to earn.

    That will indeed be a cut in National Insurance for most workers, but it is not the whole picture.

    National Insurance went up in April by 1.25p in the pound. Also, the threshold at which workers start paying income tax has been frozen, which is effectively a big tax rise, especially at a time of high inflation. If that is taken into account then many fewer people have had a tax cut overall.

    And we know from the government’s independent forecaster the Office for Budget Responsibility that the overall tax burden is going to rise from 33% of GDP (a measure of the size of the economy) in 2019-20 to 36.3% of GDP in 2026-27, which will be the highest since the late 1940s.

    You can read more about it here.

  3. How many 'new hospitals' is the government building?

    Reality Check

    In the the Queen’s Speech debate, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government was “building new hospitals... 48 of them in fact”.

    The government has three definitions of what constitutes a "new" hospital:

    • A whole new hospital on a new site or current NHS land
    • A major new clinical building on an existing site or a new wing of an existing hospital
    • A major refurbishment and alteration of all but building frame or main structure

    An analysis by BBC Reality Check and the Nuffield Trust in December 2021, found that of 40 hospital projects announced by the government 22 are rebuilding projects, 12 will be new wings within existing hospitals, three involve rebuilding non-urgent care hospitals and three are entirely new hospitals. The 48 figure mentioned by Mr Johnson includes a “competition for 8 further hospitals including new Mental Health Hospitals”.

  4. Fastest or slowest growth?

    Reality Check

    Sir Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson clashed in the House of Commons over the growth of the UK economy.

    The Labour leader said that the UK would be: “the slowest growing economy in the G7 next year”.

    Boris Johnson said “we had the fastest economic growth in the G7 last year and will return to that status, by the way, by 2024.

    The G7 is a club of major developed economies.

    They’re both right and using IMF forecasts and comparisons, but they’re talking about different years.

    It is correct to say we had the fastest growth last year, are forecast to have relatively slow growth next year and then relatively fast growth two years later.

    If you look over a longer period, from before the pandemic to forecasts up to 2025, the UK is actually in the middle of the pack.

  5. Do oil companies pay more tax?

    Reality Check

    Policing Minister Kit Malthouse was asked on the BBC’s Today programme whether the government would impose a windfall tax on oil and gas companies to help people struggling to pay fuel bills.

    He replied: “Don’t forget, they already pay double the corporation tax that others do”.

    Is that true?

    It's true they are subject to higher rates of tax, but that's not the whole story.

    Oil and gas companies in the North Sea are subject to 30% corporation tax on their profits and a supplementary 10% rate on top.

    Other companies pay corporation tax at 19%

    But oil companies also pay less tax if they are investing and some years the government pays more money in tax relief to oil and gas operators than it receives from them in taxes.

    BP and Shell both received more money from the government than they paid every year from 2015 to 2020 except 2017, when Shell paid more than it received.

    Asked to comment, the Treasury highlighted £375bn of tax North Sea oil and gas companies have paid since the late 1960s.

    You can read more about windfall taxes here.