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Autumn Statement: The key changes

Read our summary of the key welfare measures and other proposed changes announced on 23 November.

The government announced a number of measures in their Autumn Statement of 23 November. Below is a summary of the key welfare measures and other proposed changes.

Welfare benefits

  • There were no new welfare cuts announced in the Autumn Statement.  However, the government will still implement cuts to welfare previously announced. We have information about benefit changes that will be introduced from April 2017 on the Turn2us website.

  •  From April 2017, the taper rate that applies to the Universal Credit calculation will be reduced from 65% to 63%. This means that for Universal Credit claimants 63p for every £1 earned above work allowances will be taken into account as income, rather than the 65p in the £1 at present.

  • Refugees and their family members will be exempted from the Past Presence Test, meaning that they will no longer have to be resident in the UK for two years before they can receive disability benefits.

Tax credits

  • Child Tax Credit: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will be able make in-year changes to Child Tax Credit claims so the disability elements of Child Tax Credit will be paid to people who are eligible, but not currently receiving this entitlement. Payments can only be backdated as far as April 2016.
  • Tax Credit claims can be made to HMRC using digital devices from April 2017.


  • Capping of Housing Benefit at the relevant Local Housing Allowance rate for new or renewed tenancies in the social rented sector, will now be introduced from April 2019.

  • Letting agent fees: The government will ban fees charged by letting agents to tenants. The Government will consult before bringing forward legislation.


  • From April 2017, the National Living Wage will increase from £7.20 per hour to £7.50 per hour.

  • The National Minimum Wage from April 2017 will increase for 21 to 24 year olds from £6.95 to £7.05 per hour; for 18 to 20 year olds from £5.55 to £5.60 per hour; for 16 to 17 year olds from £4.00 to £4.05 per hour. The rate for apprentices will also increase from £3.40 to £3.50 per hour.

Tax and national insurance

  • The government will raise the tax-free Personal Allowance to £12,500 by the end of the next Parliament. It will be increased to £11,500 in April 2017.

  • The higher rate tax threshold will be increased to £50,000 by the end of the Parliament, up from £43,000.

  • From April 2017, both employees and employers will start paying national insurance on weekly earnings above £157.

  • The government will remove tax advantages for salary sacrifice schemes at work. Employees swapping salary for benefits will pay the same tax as those who buy them out of their post-tax income. However, salary sacrifice arrangements relating to pensions (including advice), childcare, Cycle to Work and ultra-low emission cars will be exempt from this measure.

  • The government will again freeze vehicle fuel duty from April 2017 but insurance premium tax will rise from 10% to 12% in June 2017.

No Cold Homes

If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills, try using our free easy-to-use Benefits Calculator and Grants Search to check you are claiming all your welfare benefit entitlements and find out if you may be eligible for help from a charitable fund.

See also our Energy Schemes information