Autumn Statement 2015
1) U-turn on tax credits
There will be no further cuts to tax credits.
The disregard will be £2,500. This will mean that any reduction in income in a year of less than £2,500 will have no impact on a tax credit award. In addition, no further changes will be made to the universal credit taper, or to the work allowances beyond those that passed through parliament already.
The minimum income floor in universal credit will increase with the national living wage.
Despite the freeze, Mr Osborne said government will still achieve the promised £12bn per year of welfare savings, unveiling a raft of civil service cuts.
2) Further crackdown on tax evasion and changes for VCTs and CGT
New penalties will be introduced for the General Anti-Abuse Rule, action will be taken on disguised remuneration schemes and stamp duty avoidance.
Mr Osborne said he would also stop abuse of the intangible fixed assets regime and capital allowances.
Energy generation will now be excluded from the venture capital schemes, in a move Mr Osborne said was “to ensure that they remain well targeted at higher risk companies”.
Once digital tax accounts are in place in 2016, he said capital gains tax will have to be paid within 30 days of completion of any disposal of residential property.
3) Auto-enrolment changes and increases to state pension
The next two phases of contribution rate increases for auto-enrolment schemes will be aligned with the tax years.
Mr Osborne said he will increase the state pension age with life expectancy in order to maintain a triple lock on the value of the state pension.
Next year the basic state pension will increase by £3.35 to £119.30 a week. The full rate for the new state pension is set at £155.65.
The savings credit will be frozen at its current level where income is unchanged.
4) The Chancellor wants to build as well as balance the books
The housing budget is doubled to more than £2bn a year and 400,000 more affordable new homes are set to be built by the end of the decade.
Mr Osborne said: “That’s the biggest house building programme by any government since the 1970s.”
Almost half of the building will be starter homes, sold at 20 per cent off market value to young first-time buyers. A total of 135,000 will be Help to Buy: Shared Ownership.
Right to Buy will be extended to housing association tenants and from midnight tonight, tenants of five housing associations will be able to start the process of buying their own home.
The planning system is set for reform and public land suitable for 160,000 homes will be released along with unused commercial land re-designated for starter homes.
The government will also launch London Help to Buy, which will see Londoners with a 5 per cent deposit able to get an interest-free loan worth up to 40 per cent of the value of a newly-built home.
5) Bad news for buy-to-let and property investors
To tackle cash purchases that were not hit by the Summer Budget changes to mortgage interest relief, new rates of stamp duty will be introduced at 3 per cent higher on the purchase of additional properties like buy-to-lets and second homes.
This rate will be introduced in April next year and government will consult on the details so that corporate property development isn’t affected.