How does the Autumn Statement affect your finances?

Monday 28 November 2016, 12:19 PM

Sam Barratt
Financial Journalist , Freelance

  • Autumn Statement 16 Lg
In his first Autumn Statement, and the first spending plans since the EU Referendum, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a number of measures to make the UK economy more resilient, boost housing and support the Jams, the term the government uses for people 'just about managing'.

These are the key measures and how they could affect you:

Income
The income tax threshold is set to rise from £11,000 to £11,500 in April 2017, putting an extra £100 a year into many people's pay packets.

On top of this Hammond announced an increase in the National Living Wage, taking it from £7.20 to £7.50 an hour from next April. Work a 35 hour week on the National Living Wage and that's an extra £10.50 a week before tax.  

A clampdown on salary sacrifice was also unveiled. This allows you to pay less tax and national insurance by swapping some salary for a benefit such as a pension contribution or childcare vouchers.

While it will still be possible to do this for childcare, cycle to work schemes, pensions and ultra-low emission cars, salary sacrifice will be stopped on other benefits from next April. Existing arrangements will be protected until April 2018 with more expensive ones  for items such as cars, accommodation and school fees covered for a further three years.  

Spending
The increase in fuel duty was scrapped for the seventh year running. While this might be getting a bit repetitive, if you're what's known as an average car driver, it'll save you £130 a year.

On the negative side, a further increase to insurance premium tax (IPT) was announced. This will take it from 10% to 12% from June 2017, meaning that it has doubled since October 2015 when it was just 6%.

Although long-term protection products such as life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection are exempt from IPT, you'll feel the effects of the increase when you buy motor, property, pet, health or business insurance.  As an example the Association of British Insurers says the three IPT increases have put an extra £25.79 on the average motor insurance policy and a further £18.95 on a home policy.

Saving
In a bid to help savers struggling to get more interest on their money, Hammond announced a new savings bond from NS&I.

The bond will be launched next spring with an indicative interest rate of 2.2% and a three year term. The maximum investment is £3,000 - which would give you a return of just over £202 over the three years.

While this beats many interest rates currently available, locking your money up for three years might mean you miss out on higher rates further down the line.

Housing
There was good news if you're renting or looking to buy your first home. As well as announcing an investment of £3.7bn to £1.4bn to build an extra 40,000 affordable homes and a further 100,000 homes in high demand areas, Hammond also laid out plans for a ban on letting agent fees.

These fees, which have already been scrapped in Scotland, are charged upfront to tenants looking to secure a new home to rent. While the average is just over £200, some prospective tenants pay £500 plus.

Banning these fees will make it easier to be able to afford to rent. However there are concerns that landlords will simply push the fees back to the tenant in the form of higher rents.

And, possibly as a nod to his new boy status, Hammond also announced a further ban - on autumn statements. Instead, from next year, there will be an autumn budget, with the spring budget becoming a spring statement from 2018.