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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