The Chancellor George Osborne presented the Autumn Statement to the House of Commons on 5th December 2013 and things are getting better, economic growth forecasts for this year have more than doubled from 0.6% to 1.4% but the austerity plan is set to continue.
Here is a summary of the key announcements:
Business rate increases in England will be capped at 2% in 2014/15 (they were set to increase by 3.2%) and businesses will be able to pay over 12 months rather than 10.
The Retail Sector will also get a £1,000 discount in 2014/15 and 2015/16, this applies to pubs, cafes, restaurants and charity shops with a rateable value below £50,000.
A reoccupation relief of 50% is being introduced for up to 18 months on premises that have been empty for a year or more and it will apply from 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2016.
Small Business Rate Relief has been extended to April 2015 under the scheme small businesses with a rateable value of £6,000 or less can get 100% relief, the relief is scaled down to zero on rateable values of £12,000 and there is a lower multiplier on rates between £12,001 and £17,999.
As previously announced the personal allowance will be £10,000 for the tax year 2014/15.
From April 2015, a spouse or civil partner who is not liable to income tax will be able to transfer £1,000 of their allowance to a basic rate tax paying spouse and as a result save £200 in tax.
State Pension Age
By 2020 it will be 66, by 2028 it will be 67 and by mid 2030’s 68, then in 2040’s 69.
Capital Gains Tax
The annual exempt amount will be £11,000 for individuals for 2014/15.
But there was an exemption for principle private residence letting for 36 months and from 6th April 2014 it will be reduced to 18 months.
Consultation will start in April on non-residents paying capital gains on property disposals.
Individual Savings Account (ISA)
The limit will rise to £11,880 for 2014/15 and of this £5,940 can be invested in cash ISA’s
Mortgage Guarantee Scheme
The scheme started in October will run for 3 years and end in January 2017.
Buyers will only need a 5% deposit and the government and the funder will guarantee 15% of the loan in return for a fee.
Legislation will be tightened from April 2014.
A range of measures were discussed in addition to IR35 and these included:
- Partnership Tax
- Controlled foreign companies
- High risk tax avoidance schemes
- Dual contracts
Other headline measures
- Employers NI for under 21’s to be scrapped in 2015
- Rolling back green levies to allow an average saving of £50 on energy bills
- Free school meals for infants
- Scrapping of 1% above inflation rail fare increases
- Electronic tax discs
- Abolition of next years 2p per litre fuel duty rise