From a financial planning perspective, there was little significant change, but a couple of modest tax giveaways –
- Stamp duty land tax threshold increased to £300,000, to benefit first homebuyers and those financially helping their children to buy their first home
- Personal allowance and higher rate threshold increased to £11,850 and £46,350 respectively
The Chancellor’s Autumn Budget focused on building a Britain which is ‘fit for the future’ – committed to a low-tax economy, focused on the millennial generation and providing a broad range of softer measures designed to prepare us further for life post-Brexit.
Improving productivity and encouraging technology and innovation is an important part of the vision, with measures extending to training and infrastructure, including an increasing in the R&D tax credit to 12% and a doubling of Enterprise Investment Scheme investment limits for knowledge-intensive companies.
Measures to help families, businesses and the NHS also mean that everyone will continue to be better off in 2017/18. Notably, the personal allowance has increased again – now at £11,850 for basic rate taxpayers, up from £6,475 since 2010/11; and £46,350 for higher rate taxpayers. The stamp duty land tax has also been abolished for first time buyers up to £300,000. It remains to be seen whether either policy will be implemented within Scotland and these issues are scheduled for debate within the Scottish Parliament in December.
There is also a stepped up effort to combat tax avoidance, fraud and error with new anti-avoidance rules extended to offshore investors and owners of UK-based property.
Despite the forecasts for UK economic growth being cut sharply over the next five years, and productivity growth revised down by an average of 0.7% a year up to 2023, Mr Hammond put on a brave face, promising us that the economy faces “a future that will be full of change, full of new challenges and above all full of new opportunities.”
Read our breakdown of the relevant changes for investors here.