Autumn Statement 2016: what to expectChancellor to unveil Autumn Statement on 23 November

19 November 2016

Philip-Hammond

Philip Hammond to deliver his first Autumn Statement

Philip Hammond will deliver his first Autumn Statement as Chancellor of the Exchequer on Wednesday.

The Autumn Statement is primarily designed to update Parliament on the prospects and forecasts for the British economy. However, there may also be some changes in the wake of the Brexit vote in June this year.

There’s some speculation that the Chancellor will reduce austerity measures to help the UK economy after the shocks of 2016.

We look at some of the potential announcements that could affect your finances in the future:

Pension cold calling

The government has already confirmed that it will ban pensions cold calling, which has led to many savers being tricked out of their money. 

Under the proposals, firms that breach the ban could be hit with fines of up to £500,000. Further plans to crack down on pension scams are set to be formally announced on Wednesday; these include giving more powers to pension firms to block suspicious transfers.

Pension scammers typically offer 'unique investment opportunities' that can lead to your money being transferred, usually overseas, never to be seen again. 

Find out more: How to spot a pension scam - familiarise yourself with fraudsters' tactics to avoid falling victim

The Lifetime Isa

The Lifetime Isa was first announced by the previous Chancellor, George Osborne, in March 2016. There has been talk of the Isa being ditched or delayed, but it’s likely that the start date will be confirmed in the Autumn Statement.

The new tax-free savings vehicle for under-40s is due to launch in April 2017, helping young people buy their first home or save for retirement.

The Lifetime Isa can be opened by any adult aged between 18 and 39. Savers can put away up to £4,000 each year with an additional 25% bonus from the government paid up to your 50th birthday.

Find out more: The Lifetime Isa - more information on how the new savings vehicle will work

The state pension

The rumblings from the major revamp of the state pension system in April 2016 haven’t yet died down. No further fundamental changes are anticipated, but there are a few outstanding issues that could be addressed.

The so-called state pension ‘triple lock’ may come under scrutiny again. This guarantees that, every year, the basic state pension will rise in line with earnings, inflation (measured by the Consumer Prices Index) or 2.5% - whichever is the greater.

The Work and Pensions Committee recently said continuing with the triple lock was ‘unsustainable’ and ‘unfair’ on younger families.

There has been some discussion about allowing some women to access their state pension early at a reduced rate, but women campaigning for the reversal of state pension age increases are unlikely to be given grounds for optimism.

Find out more: The state pension - how the system works and how much you'll get 

Housing and stamp duty

The need to build more houses is likely to be covered. Smaller house builders are already being encouraged build new properties via a £3 billion Home Building Fund.

A separate fund of £2 billion has been earmarked to pay for 15,000 new homes by 2020 on surplus public sector land.

There has been some speculation about the repeal of the second-home stamp duty which only began in April this year.

This means that people buying a second home or a buy-to-let property - ie any property that won't be their primary residence - now have to pay an extra 3% on each level of stamp duty.

Find out more: Stamp duty calculator - work out how much tax you'll have to pay

Infrastructure

Mr Hammond has already said that the Autumn Statement will contain measures to boost Britain’s roads and railways.

Growth and living standards will be given a boost by spending more on targeted infrastructure projects, with a cash injection in the region of 38£5 billion being suggested.

Productivity improvements can be rapidly achieved via these projects, the Chancellor has said. They can also be started quickly and have long-term benefits.

Other measures planned could include a continued freeze in fuel duty, cuts to air passenger duty and childcare subsidies.

Which? experts will outline all of the key announcements – and what they mean for your finances – on the day. Visit which.co.uk/money for more.

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