The Autumn Statement: did it bear fruit?

Posted on 06 December, 2016

Philip Hammond’s first Autumn Statement was never going to seem like Christmas come early. But despite the lack of grand spending plans there were some interesting details nonetheless.

We’ve summed up the best bits for you.

The Good

  • Major investment to build up to 140,000 new homes may at last bring some relief for first-time buyers.
  • Letting agent fees have been banned – meaning no more up-front costs for renters.
  • The level at which income tax is paid will rise to £11,500.
  • An injection of £400m into venture capital funds through the British Business Bank is to unlock £1bn in finance for growing firms.
  • And great news for advisers – the government is to consult on banning pension cold-calling, in a crackdown on scams.

The Bad

  • The government faces a £25bn hole in its finances and has given up its goal of a budget surplus – so we may wait a long time for another boom.
  • Tax savings on employer benefits-in-kind are being scrapped, except for pensions, childcare and eco-friendly travel schemes.
  • Insurance premiums may be slightly more expensive due to a 2% tax rise.

The So-So

  • Employer and employee National Insurance thresholds are to be equalised at £157 from April.
  • The triple-lock on the State Pension is set to be protected – great for pensioners, but the young may feel hard done by.

One message in particular stands out: the government is battening down the hatches for Brexit.