Today’s Autumn Statement included a wide range of measures, announcements and new policies, from changes to the State Pension and Income Tax, to school dinners and overseas property owners.
But how will they affect you? Were you a winner or a loser?
Read on to find out.
George Osborne confirmed that the personal allowance, the amount you can earn before starting to pay tax, will rise to £10,000 from April 2014, and then rise each year in line with inflation, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI).
Married couples will also be able to claim a transferable tax allowance from April 2015, worth up to £200 per year.
Can the status quo be classed as winning? If so, then pension investors will be pleased that no new measures to curb the tax-free cash available from their pension, or further restrict the amount of higher rate tax-relief available, were announced.
George Osborne announced next year’s fuel duty rise will be scrapped and claimed that petrol is now 20p per litre cheaper than it would otherwise have been.
George Osborne was at pains to praise business, both in this and previous speeches.
Today he announced that business rates for small and medium size firms will rise more slowly, as well as 50% relief for firms taking occupation of empty properties.
The big news though came in a surprise move, when he announced employer National Insurance contributions for workers under the age of 21 will be abolished.
Parents & young school children
It was confirmed that all school children aged six and seven will qualify for a free lunchtime meal and more money will be made available to schools to help provide these meals.
Younger people who want a State Pension
Whilst it was probably only a matter of time before it changed, the thought of having to work until 69 or 70 to claim a State Pension, will leave many younger workers, in their 20’s and 30’s even more disillusioned with retirement planning. Especially as they struggle to content with the rising cost of living, stagnant wage growth and rising house prices.
Despite calls for additional measures to help savers, who have battled with low interest rates and the rising cost of living for the past five years, the Autumn Statement contained no measures, other than a small rise in the annual Individual Savings Account (ISA) allowance, to help them.
Income Drawdown investors
Retirees who have opted to use Income Drawdown rather than purchase an Annuity, may well be left disappointed by the news that the Government has decided not to change the way in which maximum incomes from this type of plan are calculated.
Overseas property owners
Non UK residents, who own a residential property here, will have to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on any profits made from a sale from April 2014 onwards.
This will increase tax bills, especially for property owners in London where house prices have risen significantly. It could also slow the seemingly unstoppable rise in house prices in the capital, as foreign owners look to sell off property in the next few months to avoid the new tax.