Cascade Commentary

Summary of Autumn Budget 2017 - Key Points to Note

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, presented his second Autumn Budget to Parliament on 22 November 2017. A summary of the key points to note is provided as follows.

Stamp Duty and Housing

  • Stamp duty land tax abolished for first time buyers from 22 November 2017 for the first £300,000 of a £500,000 purchase price meaning that 80% of first-time buyers will not pay at all and 95% of first-time buyers will benefit;
  • £15.3 billion new financial support for house building of 300,000 new homes per year over the next five years with total support reaching £44 billion;
  • Local authorities given the power to charge a 100% council tax premium on empty properties;
  • A task force has been established to tackle the growing problem of homelessness; 
  • £400 million of spending to be allocated to regenerate housing estates with a further £1.1 billion allocated to unlock strategic sites for development;
  • A review will be conducted into why there are delays in developments being given planning permission once purchased. 

Personal Taxation and Wages

  • National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage to increase from April 2018;
  • Personal tax allowance to rise with inflation from £11,500 to £11,850;
  • Higher-rate tax threshold will increase to £46,350.

State of the Economy

  • Unemployment at its lowest rate since 1975, driven by full-time workers;
  • Extra £3 billion allocated to help Brexit preparations;
  • A reduction in the UK's growth forecast for 2017 was announced, moving from 2% to 1.5%;
  • Annual rate of CPI inflation forecast to fall towards the targeted 2% later this year;
  • UK borrowed £1 in every £16 that was spent in 2016 but country still owes more than £1.7 trillion;
  • Annual government borrowing will be £49.9 billion this year, some £8.4 billion lower than the March 2017 forecast, but projected borrowing has moved upwards due to weaker economic forecasts and lower expected tax yields.

Welfare and Pensions

  • More upfront support for householders applying for Universal Credit so that claimants can get 100% advance payments within five days of applying from January 2018;
  • The typical first payment will now take five weeks rather than current six weeks and repayment periods for advances to increase from six months to twelve.

Education, Health and Transport

  • More funding provided to schools to encourage maths and science;
  • A £40m teacher training fund established, worth £1,000 per teacher, for underperforming schools in England;
  • £1.7 billion of funding provided to improve transport in English cities;
  • NHS to receive £3.5 billion to upgrade buildings and improve care along with £2.8 billion to improve A&E performance, reduce waiting times and treat more people this winter;
  • £34 million to be provided for teaching construction skills (such as plastering and bricklaying) and £30 million to be provided to teach digital skills such as artificial intelligence;
  • 8,000 new computer science teachers to be recruited at cost of £84m and a new National Centre for Computing to be set up;
  • Devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to receive extra spending power in devolved areas such as education, health and transport.

Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Air Passenger Duty

  • Fuel duty left unchanged for eighth consecutive year;
  • Beer, wine, cider and spirits duty frozen;
  • Air passenger duty frozen on short-haul flights;
  • ​Duty on cigarettes to increase by 2% above inflation while hand-rolling tobacco duty will increase by 3% above inflation.

Business and Technology

  • Business rates benchmark switched to Consumer Price Index (CPI) from Retail Price Index (RPI) for increases;
  • Tax crackdown on digital multinationals holding intellectual property in low-tax countries to reduce tax avoidance;
  • The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation created - the world's first national advisory body for Artificial Intelligence - to set standards for the use and ethics of artificial intelligence and data;
  • Consultations announced for reducing use of disposable plastics, such as toothpaste tubes and coffee cups;
  • Pubs valued up to £100,000 will continue to receive £1,000 discount to business rates next year;
  • VAT threshold for small business to remain at £85,000 for two years;
  • New railcard proposed for 26 to 30 year olds from Spring 2018 giving a third off rail fares;
  • £2.3bn allocated for investment into research and development;
  • £500m support for 5G mobile networks, full fibre broadband and artificial intelligence. 


  • £100 million provided to support people in buying battery electric cars;
  • Clean Air Fund, set at £220 million, established to help reduce air pollution in most polluted local areas.

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