Autumn Statement 2016: a summary

The Chancellor announced his first (and last) Autumn Statement on 23 November, and some of the main focuses were in housing, allowances and infrastructure.

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The main headlines – a brief summary

Housing

A £2.3bn housing infrastructure fund is to unlock land for housing, which in doing so is set to create 100,000 new homes in areas of high demand.  There’s also a further £1.4bn to build 40,000 affordable home, as well as a new venture that aims to give the Right to Buy for housing association tenants.

Taxes and allowances

The tax-free personal allowance will rise to £11,500 in April, and up to £12,500 by the end of this parliament (2020), he says. Meanwhile the 40p threshold will rise to £50,000 over the same period.

On universal credit, he has decided to cut the taper rate (reduction based on your income) from 65p to 63p, which is said to be effectively a tax cut worth £700m by 2022.  Also, the National Living Wage rises from £7.20 to £7.50 an hour in April. No further welfare savings were planned.

Finally, workplace salary sacrifice schemes are being reformed, with certain benefits no longer tax-free though there will be some exceptions such as childcare.

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Transport infrastructure

The chancellor said: “There will be an extra £1.1bn invested in English transport networks”, with more details to follow in the coming weeks. In addition, he spoke of £450m for digital signalling on trains, £200m for traffic pinch-points and £390m for low-emissions vehicles.

Digital infrastructure and business

The chancellor “wants the UK to be a world-leader in 5G“, so more than £1bn will be invested in digital infrastructure like broadband, with 100% business rate relief on new fibre infrastructure . In business, corporation tax will fall to 17% as planned by 2020.

Consumers

Lettings agents in England are to be banned from charging fees.  It is thought that moving the costs over to landlords is likely to save hundreds of pounds for 4.3 million households. He also said that pensions cold calling would be banned, and that fuel duty rises would be cancelled for the seventh consecutive year. Finally, money from the Tampon tax fund will go to women’s charities.

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