George Osbourne gave the Conservatives first Autumn budget statement yesterday and although the headlines have been dominated by the Governments U-Turn on tax credits, in this summary we have tried to cover some of the points that we feel are relevant to the day to day overall financial planning we provide to our clients:
Economic Growth– of 2.4% forecast for 2015, unchanged from June and in subsequent years forecast to be 2.4%, 2.5%, 2.4% and 2.3%
UK is fastest-growing economy, alongside US, since 2010
Tax Credits-Planned £4.4bn in tax credit cuts to be abandoned, with taper and threshold rates for working tax credits and child tax credits remaining the same.
State Pension– to rise by £3.35 a week to £119.30 next year.
The single tier State Pension-The government is also simplifying the State Pension. From April 2016, those reaching pensionable age will receive a new, ‘single-tier’ pension with a starting rate of £155.65.
Those reaching pensionable age before the reforms are introduced will receive their State Pension in line with the current rules. However predictions are showing up to one third of pensioners will not receive the full amount due to lack of National Insurance contributions.
Pension Tax Relief-The government currently spends almost £50 billion per year incentivising contributions into pensions and in the Summer Budget they launched a consultation on the system of pensions tax relief, to gather evidence and views on whether the current system incentivises pension saving. The government received several hundred responses to that consultation, and is considering the options for reform carefully, they will publish its response at Budget 2016-so is tax relief changing?
Automatic Enrolment– minimum contribution rates – The government will delay the next two scheduled increases in automatic enrolment minimum contribution rates by 6 months each, to align these changes with the start of the tax year.
Secondary market for annuities – The government will remove the barriers to creating a secondary market for annuities, allowing individuals to sell their annuity income stream. The government will set out further details on this measure, including the framework for the consumer protection package, in its consultation response this December. (Finance Bill 2017)
Starting rate of savings tax – The band of savings income that is subject to the 0% starting rate will be kept at its current level of £5,000 for 2016-17.
ISAs: annual subscription limits – The government will maintain the ISA, Junior ISA and Child Trust Fund annual subscription limits at their current level for 2016-17. It’s anticipated that there’ll be legislation allowing the tax advantages of a deceased’s ISA savings to continue during the administration of their estate.
Buy-to-let landlords– and people buying second homes will soon have to pay a higher rate of stamp duty (SDLT). From April 2016, they will have to pay a 3% surcharge on the purchase value of the property above £40,000. George Osborne said the new surcharge would raise £1bn extra for the Treasury by 2021.
Digital accounts and payment of tax-As previously announced, digital tax accounts for small businesses and individuals will be introduced by 2016/17. By 2020, most businesses, self-employed individuals and landlords will be required to maintain their tax records digitally and will have to update HMRC quarterly through their digital tax account. These measures won’t apply to employees or pensioners unless they have secondary incomes of more than £10,000 each year from self-employment or property. There will be a consultation published in 2016.
The delivery of 400,000 affordable housing– starts by 2020-21. Focused on low cost home ownership it will include 200,000 Starter Homes which will be sold at a 20% discount compared to market value to young first time buyers
Help to Buy– A further 135,000 Shared Ownership homes to be built, which will allow more people to buy a share in their home and buy more shares over time, as they can afford to. The scheme will be open to all households earning less than £80,000 outside London and £90,000 in London.
Save for a deposit while they rent– 10,000 more eligible homes to be built in addition to the 50,000 affordable homes from existing commitments
Homes for older people-8000 new properties for the elderly and people with disabilities to be built
Right to Buy– will be extended to tenants of housing associations and the government will launch a pilot of with five Housing Associations.
Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme extended– to 2021 and create a London Help to Buy scheme, offering a 40% equity loan in recognition of the higher housing costs in the capital. The scheme will offer buyers with a 5% deposit a loan of up to 40% of the value of a new build home, interest-free for 5 years.
Childcare– From 2019-20, the government will spend over £6 billion a year supporting parents with their childcare costs. This includes doubling the free childcare entitlement from 15 hours to 30 hours a week for working families with three and four year olds from September 2017, worth up to £5,000 per child. It also includes introducing Tax-Free Childcare from early 2017, providing up to £2,000 a year per child to help working parents with their childcare costs
Northern Powerhouse– The Northern Powerhouse is the government’s plan to boost the economy across the North of England and create powerful new elected mayors who will give people in northern cities and towns a strong voice and closer to home, the government will spend £13 billion on transport in the North over this Parliament, including accelerating £220 million upgrade to M6 Junctions 16-19 and key local project completions will be Electrification of railway between Manchester and Liverpool and completion of the Mersey Gateway Bridge opens (New Runcorn-Widnes Bridge)