It has been a tumultuous year in British politics, with three prime ministers and four chancellors holding office.
After the calamitous “mini-Budget” ushered in the demise of Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng, new chancellor Jeremy Hunt has delivered his first autumn statement.
Hunt’s speech came at a tricky time for the UK economy, with inflation at a 41-year high and the Bank of England (BoE) reporting that the economy is expected to be in a recession for a prolonged period. Hunt said his plan was designed to “strengthen our public finances, bring down inflation and protect jobs”.
Here are the key points of the autumn statement, and what they might mean for you.
A reduction in tax-free allowances and exemptions
As part of his plan to raise tax revenue, the chancellor announced reductions to two key tax allowances.
Capital Gains Tax
The Capital Gains Tax (CGT) annual exempt amount will fall from £12,300 to £6,000 in April 2023, and to £3,000 in April 2024.
This means that you will only be able to make profits of £6,000 on non-ISA investments – such as company shares or second homes – in the 2023/24 tax year before CGT becomes due.
The Dividend Allowance – the amount you can earn from dividends before Dividend Tax is paid – will be reduced from £2,000 to £1,000 in April 2023, and then to £500 in April 2024.
If you receive any income from dividends, it’s likely that you will pay more tax on these dividends from April 2023 onwards.
These two combined measures will raise more than £1.2 billion a year from April 2025.
Inheritance Tax thresholds frozen for a further 2 years
The Inheritance Tax (IHT) nil-rate band has been at its current level of £325,000 since April 2009. The additional residence nil-rate band is set at £175,000 and normally applies if you leave your home to a child or grandchild.
These two thresholds had already been frozen until 2026. The chancellor announced an extension to this freeze, meaning that the nil-rate bands will remain at these levels until at least 2028.
Qualifying estates can continue to pass on up to £500,000 and the qualifying estate of a surviving spouse or civil partner can continue to pass on up to £1 million without an IHT liability.
As house prices and asset values rise, it is likely that more and more estates will face an IHT bill over the next five years.
A cut to the level at which you pay additional-rate Income Tax
In a considerable change of direction from the former administration, Hunt reduced the threshold at which individuals pay additional-rate Income Tax.
Unlike his predecessor, Kwasi Kwarteng, who abolished the additional rate of tax (45%) – a move that was swiftly reversed – Hunt’s announcement means higher earners will pay 45% tax on more of their earnings.
The 45% rate will now apply for earnings above £125,140 rather than the previous level of £150,000. It means if you earn £150,000 or more, you will pay just over £1,200 more in Income Tax each year.
Hunt also froze the Income Tax Personal Allowance – the amount an individual can typically earn before paying Income Tax – at the current level of £12,570 until 2028. Additionally, he fixed the higher-rate threshold at £50,270 and the National Insurance thresholds at their current level to 2028.
All these measures are also likely to increase your personal tax burden. As earnings rise, more of your income will be subject to tax than if the allowances had risen in line with inflation.
The State Pension “triple lock” to be honoured
Under the “triple lock”, the State Pension increases each year by the higher of:
- Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in September (of the previous year)
- The average increase in wages across the UK
- or 2.5%.
After months in which no senior politician would commit to honouring the government’s pledge, Hunt announced that he would increase the State Pension in line with inflation.
This means pensioners can expect a boost of just over 10% to their State Pension from April 2023. For someone on the full, new State Pension, that will represent an additional payment of more than £900 a year.
Pension Credit will also rise by 10.1% in April 2023 and benefits will be uprated by inflation, too.
As a result of uprating both working age and pension benefits, around 19 million families will see their benefit payments increase from April 2023.
An increase in the Energy Price Guarantee
Hunt announced that the government’s Energy Price Guarantee – an initiative of the Truss administration – would continue in its present guise until April 2023.
Under the guarantee, for six months from 1 October 2022, the average household will pay energy bills of around £2,500 a year.
The scheme will then become less generous from April 2023. The guarantee will rise to £3,000 for a further 12 months, meaning your energy bills will likely rise again in the spring.
The government say this equates to an average of £500 support for households in 2023/24.
There will be additional support for more vulnerable households.
Increase to windfall taxes
Jeremy Hunt announced a significant increase in windfall taxes. The oil and gas companies’ tax rate will increase from 25% to 35% of profits on UK operations from January 2023 until March 2028, extended from December 2025.
There will also be a 45% tax on profits of older renewable and nuclear electricity generation.
Together, these measures will raise more than £55 billion from this year until 2027/28.
Stamp Duty reductions to end in 2025
In September’s “mini-Budget”, Kwasi Kwarteng announced some increases in the thresholds at which Stamp Duty would be payable.
The £125,000 threshold increased to £250,000 while he increased the minimum threshold for first-time buyers from £300,000 to £450,000.
Jeremy Hunt announced that while these changes will remain, they will now be time-limited, ending on 31 March 2025. They are designed “to support the housing market and the hundreds of thousands of jobs and businesses which rely on it”.
National living wage
Hunt announced the largest-ever rise in the UK’s national living wage. For workers aged 23 and over, it will rise by 9.7% to £10.42 an hour from April 2023.
This represents an increase of more than £1,600 to the annual earnings of a full-time worker on the national living wage and is expected to benefit more than 2 million workers.
From April 2025, electric cars, vans, and motorcycles will begin to pay Vehicle Excise Duty in the same way as petrol and diesel vehicles. The government says that this will “ensure that all road users begin to pay a fair tax contribution as the take up of electric vehicles continues to accelerate”.
Health and social care
Hunt announced spending of £2.8 billion in 2023/24 and £4.7 billion in 2024/25 for adult social care, to help the most vulnerable.
He also committed an additional £3.3 billion in 2023/24 and a further £3.3 billion in 2024/25 to improve the performance of the NHS.
Furthermore, the chancellor announced that the lifetime cap on social care costs in England due to come into force in October 2023 will be delayed by two years.
There will be an increase to the education budget of £2.3 billion in 2023/24 and £2.3 billion the year after, taking the core schools budget to a total of £58.8 billion in 2024/25.
There will be a £13.6 billion package of business rates support over the next five years.
The business rates multipliers will be frozen in 2023/24, and upward transitional relief caps will provide support to ratepayers facing large bill increases following the revaluation. Additionally, the relief for retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors will be extended and increased to 75%.
As confirmed in October 2022, the main rate of Corporation Tax will increase to 25% from April 2023.
The chancellor confirmed the government’s commitment to High Speed 2 (HS2) to Manchester, the Northern Powerhouse Rail core network, and East West Rail, along with gigabit broadband rollout.
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If you have any questions about how the autumn statement will affect you and your finances, please get in touch.
The content of this autumn statement summary is intended for general information purposes only. The content should not be relied upon in its entirety and shall not be deemed to be or constitute advice.
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