Well, the Chancellor has now delivered the Autumn Statement - taking 50 minutes this year!
We live tweeted the speech and have condensed the key points for easy digestion.
We'll go over the key points raised in today's Autumn Statement below, and as always our calculators will be updated with any announcements very shortly:
Taxes and Allowances
- Tax rate changes for 2014 confirmed, and are being updated. See 2014 rates and allowances and we have updated our custom tax calculator for 2014 too.
- As previously rumoured, it has been confirmed capital gains taxes will be applicable to residential property sales made by non-UK residents.
- It was mooted the income tax personal allowance would possibly go further than the £10,000 announced in Budget 2013. This has not been the case. The allowance will be £10,000 from April 2014, and as previously set out, continue to rise in line with annual RPI.
- Bank levy raised from January 2014 to 0.156%.
- Employers will employees under 21 years of age will no longer have to pay the employers national contribution on their earnings. This changes will be applied from April 2015 and should effect up to 1.5 million people.
- The transferable tax allowance for married couples will come into effect from April 2015.
- Business rate rises are to be capped to RPI or 2 percent, whichever is lower - with smaller business rateable businesses to get a £1,000 discount off their bills.
- A new tax relief for investments made in social enterprises and social investment bonds to be introduced from April 2014.
Welfare and Pensions
- State pension age increases to come in earlier than previously announced, so by 2040's the state pension age will be 69.
- Rise in basic state pension of £2.95 per week from the next tax year.
- From 2014, anyone aged between 18 and 21, and without basic literacy/numeracy skills will be required to take up training or lose any benefit entitlement.
- Anyone claiming unemployment benefits for more than six months will be required to take up a trainee role, placements or work experiences or risk losing benefits.
- Welfare spending cap to be introduced, but the cap will exclude pensions.
- Claimants of unemployment benefits has dropped by 200,000.
- Forecasted unemployment rate of 7 percent in 2015 - possibility of raise in BOE base interest rates. Mark Carney BOE chief has previously stated that a fall of unemployment to 7 percent would trigger discussions of increasing base rates.
- By 2018, unemployment is forecast to be down to 5.6 percent.
- Jobs to rise to 400,000 by the end of 2013, and up to 3.1 million new jobs created by 2019.
- Start up loans to be boosted to help more people start businesses.
State of the country
- Growth forecasts show 1.4 percent growth this year (doubled from previous forecast), 2.4 percent next year, and 2.2 percent, 2.6 percent, and 2.7 percent over 2015, 2016, 2017-18, respectively.
- Deficit reduced to 6.8 percent this year, and 5.6 percent next year.
- It will take until 2018/19, but the budget will be in a small surplus. Until then, borrowing is as follows: £111bn 2013, £96bn 2014, £79bn 2015, £51bn 2016, £23bn 2017.
- Public debt levels are currently 76% of GDP, but rising to 78% next year and topping out at 80% in 2016.
- Quantum tech to be invested in.
- 0.7% of GDP to go toward overseas development.
- Housing developments in Manchester and Leeds to get a £1bn boost.
- Local councils allowed to sell expensive social housing in order to regenerate urban estates.
- 30,000 new student places to be created for 2014/15. From 2015, student caps will be abolished.
- Science, tech and engineering to be promoted.
- 20,000 new apprenticeships to be created over the next two years.
- As predicted - infants to receive free school dinners starting in the Autumn term 2015.
- Rumoured removal of green levies is confirmed.
- Fuel duty frozen - and no future increases mentioned.
- Train fares to have increases capped at inflation.
- Rumours of the scrapping of the paper tax disc are true - VED now administrated electronically with options to pay via direct debit.