- There were no new welfare cuts announced in the autumn statement. However, the government will still implement cuts to welfare previously announced.
- The Chancellor announced that from April 2017 the taper rate that applies in Universal Credit will be reduced from 65% to 63%. This means that claimants will be able to keep 37p for every £1 earned in work above work allowances rather than 35p for every £1 earned.
- 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 2 years before they can receive disability benefits.
- Child Tax Credit – HMRC will be able make in-year adjustments 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.
- Tax Credit claims can be made to HMRC using digital devices from April 2017.
- The date from which new or renewed tenancies in the social rented sector will be subject to the cap on Housing Benefit at the relevant Local Housing Allowance rate will be delayed by one year. This will now be implemented 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.
- Refuges, almshouses, Community Land Trusts and co-operatives will be exempt from the policy to reduce social sector rents by 1% a year for 4 years from 2016-17
- 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.
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.
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.
For further information see the GOV.UK Autumn Statement and Spending Review Guide 2016
Please note: The measures announced could be subject to further changes