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Autumn Statement 2015: the key announcements

A round-up of the Chancellor's speech

George Osborne

The Chancellor of the Exchequer today delivered the first Autumn Statement of the Conservative government, with plenty of announcements that will affect your finances in the future.

Mr Osborne abandoned previously announced changes to the tax credits system, announced new policies on affordable housing and gave confirmation of the single-tier state pension rate. 

Here, Which? outlines the key announcements from Mr Osborne’s speech, with plenty of information and guides on how the changes will impact on you.

Single-tier state pension starting amount is £155.65  

The Chancellor confirmed the ‘starting amount’ for the new single-tier state pension being introduced in April 2016 is £155.65 per week.

This figure is used to work out how much state pension people retiring after 6 April 2016 will get. If you’ve built up additional state pension, you are likely to get more. If you were contracted out for a significant time, you might get less.

It was also confirmed that the basic state pension, paid to those receiving the current state pension, will rise to £119.30 per week.

Find out more: Autumn Statement 2015 – state pension announcements   

Chancellor makes u-turn on tax credits

Mr Osborne scrapped his planned changes to tax credits, set out in this year’s Summer Budget. 

He had detailed plans to reduce the earnings threshold for those entitled to the full amount of working tax credits, from £6,420 to £3,850, in April 2016. He also set out plans to increase the rate of taper reduction – from 41% to 48% (so you lose 48p in the pound for each extra pound you earn).

However, today he announced that tax credit thresholds and taper reduction rates would stay the same.

He said: ‘The simplest thing to do is not to phase these changes in, but to avoid them altogether.’

This U-turn comes as a result of a recent House of Lords vote, which gave low-income families full transitional protection from working tax credit cuts for at least three years.

Find out more: Autumn Statement 2015 – tax and tax credits

Government to address bogus car insurance claims 

The Chancellor pledged to launch a government review into bogus car insurance claims.

He said that eradicating ‘compensation culture’ in this industry would reduce £1bn from the cost of car insurance, reducing premiums by up to £50 a year for each motorist.

Find out more: Autumn Statement 2015 – car insurance costs  

House-building plans set out by the Chancellor 

House building formed a key part of the Chancellor’s speech. He pledged almost £7bn towards creating 400,000 new ‘affordable homes’ through the upcoming Starter Homes Initiative and shared ownership scheme.

Stamp duty rates will be raised by 3% for those buying additional properties, such as buy-to-let properties, from April 2016. The Chancellor claimed this would raise an additional £1 billion by 2021, part of which would be used to build more affordable homes across the UK. A new Help to Buy scheme specifically for London will also be introduced.

A new tariff, that will simplify mortgage fees and make it easier to compare mortgage deals, was published in full as part of today’s Autumn Statement.

Which? has worked with the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) to create this tariff, following research suggesting consumers currently face over 40 different fees and charges from mortgage lenders.

Find out more: Autumn Statement 2015 – property

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