Melt the sugar, golden syrup and butter in a saucepan, then bubble for 1-2 mins. Leave to cool for about 10 mins.
Tip the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a large bowl. Add the warm syrup mixture and the egg, stir everything together, then gently knead in the bowl until smooth and streak-free. The dough will firm up once cooled. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 mins.
Remove the dough from the fridge, leave at room temperature until softened. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and line two baking trays with baking parchment.
Roll out the dough to the thickness of a £1 coin, then cut out gingerbread people with a cutter. Re-roll the excess dough and keep cutting until it’s all used up.
Lift the biscuits onto the trays and bake for 10-12 mins, swapping the trays over halfway through cooking. Leave to cool on the trays for 5 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Use the icing to decorate the biscuits as you wish, and stick on sweets for buttons. Leave to dry for 1-2 hrs. Will keep for up to three days in an airtight container.