The Chancellor’s third round of surprises this year
The Autumn Statement was full of surprises. One of the greatest was George Osborne’s U-turn over tax credit cuts – which saw him scrap the plan that he announced in the Summer Budget for next year’s proposed £4.4 billion cut to tax credits.
In a bid to relieve the housing shortage, the Chancellor announced a 3% rise in the rates of stamp duty land tax (SDLT) for the purchasers of buy-to-let and second homes in England and Wales from 1 April 2016. From 2019, if any capital gains tax is due on the disposal of residential property it will have to be paid on account within 30 days of the disposal.
George Osborne also outlined plans to encourage the building of starter homes to be offered at a 20% discount on prices up to £450,000 in London and £250,000 elsewhere. In addition, he will be introducing a London Help to Buy scheme, aimed at helping people afford to buy homes in the capital.
Pensions are usually a hot topic for the Chancellor both in his Budgets and Autumn Statements. Although there was no news on the future tax treatment of pensions, George Osborne did reveal that the dates for the increase in contribution rates under auto-enrolment would be pushed back six months to align them with tax years, saving £840 million in tax relief costs. The rate for the new single tier state pension, due to start next April, was set at £155.65 a week.
As ever, discussion will continue to rage over the measures announced. You can view our Autumn Statement publication here. Please let us know if you think you will be affected by anything you have read.