Autumn Statement – the key points

The Autumn Statement 2014 from George Osborne was effectively a budget in all but name as the Chancellor delivered his final statement before next year’s General Election.

A radical overhaul in stamp duty stole most of the headlines, with the removal of its ‘cliff-edged’ bands in favour of using more progressive boundaries:

• No tax for the first £125,000
• Then 2% on the portion up to £250,000
• Then 5% up to £925,000
• Then 10% up to £1.5m
• Then 12% on everything above that

But it was arguably what Osborne didn’t say that proved most intriguing. The OBR released its latest statistics during the statement, which highlighted the missed targets from the coalition government regarding the deficit, and Ed Balls made sure that everybody knew it in his Shadow response. Borrowing will exceed Budget targets by £4.9bn this year and £7.6bn next; totalling £219bn more than originally planned in 2010.

Apprentices

Businesses that employ apprentices are currently being charged National Insurance. That will now be abolished under a new pledge from Mr Osborne to help businesses that take on young apprentices under the age of 25. Mr Osborne said: “When a business is giving a young person a chance in life we’re going to support them not tax them.”

Elsewhere, the government is introducing a 25% tax on profits generated by multinationals from economic activity here in the UK, which they then artificially shift out of the country. This is expected to raise over £1bn over the next five years.

There will be a limit to the amount of profit in established banks that can be offset by losses carried forward to 50% and delaying relief on bad debts, putting an extra £4bn in the coffers within half a decade.

A few more notable announcements in brief:

• Support extended to small businesses with £500m of bank lending plus £400m government-backed venture capital funds to invest in SMEs
• Students looking to continue their education at a postgraduate level will finally be able to apply for £10,000 loans
• Personal tax allowance to increase to £10,600 next April
• Higher rate income tax threshold to rise to £42,385 next year
• Rejoice for families as Air Passenger Duty has been abolished for children under-12 from May next year, with under-16s also becoming exempt the following year
• 55% death tax passed on to loved ones abolished, and ISAs can be inherited by a surviving spouse when a saver dies tax free.

For more information, the full Autumn Statement document can be viewed here.

Blayne Pereira is a writer and multimedia Journalist at Progressive Content.

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