7 announcements from the Autumn Statement

Yesterday’s Autumn Statement was our first glimpse of the new chancellor’s position and how his policies compare to those of his predecessor George Osborne. Would there be even more changes to pensions, radical announcements in the wake of the Brexit vote or a calmer approach in these uncertain times?

In the run-up to the Autumn Statement the government spoke about the ‘JAMs’, people who are ‘just about managing’, and some of the main announcements are likely to appeal to them.

Here are some of the main changes:

Wages iconNational Living Wage increase

In April 2017, the National Living Wage will increase from £7.20 to £7.50 per hour. The government says this will be a £500 a year pay rise for the lowest paid.

 

Tax iconIncome tax

Currently, the first £11,000 of earnings are exempt from income tax. From April 2017 this will increase to £11,500, reaching £12,500 by the end of this Parliament in 2020.

The higher rate tax threshold will also increase to £50,000 by the end of this Parliament.

 

Universal tapper iconUniversal credit taper

To encourage people receiving universal credit into work, Philip Hammond announced that the rate at which the benefit is withdrawn will be reduced slightly.

Right now, once your earnings reach a certain threshold the government reduces the universal credit by 65p from every £1 you earn. This will be reduced to 63p for every £1 you earn, removing the benefit at a slower pace and allowing you to keep more of your earnings. According to the government, around three million people will benefit from this.

 

Letting iconLettings agency fees for tenants scrapped

If you’ve got experience of the rental market, you’ll be painfully aware of how expensive lettings agency fees can be. In a move that’s already been praised by many people stung by these costs, there will be a ban on upfront fees for tenants. Instead, they will be the landlord’s responsibility and, unlike tenants, the landlord is able to choose which agency they use. It’s hoped this will encourage competition and lower rates from the agencies.

 

House iconNew and affordable homes

There are two new methods aimed to alleviate the housing crisis. First is £1.4 billion to build an extra £40,000 affordable homes; second is a £2.3 billion infrastructure fund to develop 100,000 new houses in areas of high demand.

 

Fuel iconFuel duty freeze

For the seventh year in a row, fuel duty has been frozen to ease the cost drivers face at the pumps.

 

Cold calling iconBan on pension cold calling

There weren’t any rabbits pulled out of the hat this time. The big news for the pensions industry was the announcement of a ban on cold calls, aimed to help people keep their money from scammers. We’re definitely pleased with this, but don’t expect it to completely eradicate pension scams.

 

What did you think?

When the time came, the new chancellor delivered a statement that was understated compared to his predecessor. Did he go far enough, or were there other announcements you were hoping to see?

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The details provided in this article are for general information only and are in no way deemed to be financial advice. All of the material is correct as of the publication date, but could be out-of-date by the time you read the article. For our latest information and news, please see our articles section: https://www.portafina.co.uk/whats-new

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