Highlights of the 2015 Spending Review and Autumn Statement
Written on 26 November 2015
George Osborne set out the Government’s spending plans for the next four years yesterday in his Spending Review and Autumn Statement.
Here are the main changes that could affect your everyday finances.
The planned £4.4bn cut to tax credits from April 2016 has been scrapped. This means that some low-income families who were expecting cuts in tax credit payments of up to £1,200 a year will no longer face that loss, says the BBC.
Mr Osborne pointed out that tax credits are being phased out anyway as the government introduces universal credit. What that means is that the tax credit taper rate and thresholds remain unchanged .
Higher stamp duty on second homes
From 1 April 2016 people buying properties in addition to their main home, such as buy-to-let and second homes will have to pay an extra 3% in stamp duty.
The State Pension
The basic State Pension is to rise by £3.35 to £119.30 a week in April 2016. This will be the biggest increase in real terms for 15 years.
Part-time season tickets and money back if your train is late
New part-time season tickets will be introduced on certain train lines across the country, including C2C between London and Essex, and the Great Northern Route on Thameslink.
Commuters will also soon be able to claim compensation if their train is more than 15 minutes late.
Help for homebuyers
A new Help to Buy scheme will be introduced in London to help first-time buyers. From early 2016 buyers with a 5% deposit will be able to get a loan to cover up to 40% (rather than the 20% available elsewhere) of the property value and the loan will initially be interest free.
There will also be a Help to Buy Shared Ownership scheme to help people get on the housing ladder.
Cuts to energy bills
From April 2017 a new cheaper energy supplier obligation to reduce carbon emissions will be introduced. This will result in around 24 million households saving £30 a year on their energy bills.
The Warm Home Discount scheme will also be extended to 2020-2021. This currently gives certain low-income households a one-off reduction of £140 on their electricity bill. People can apply for the scheme online through their supplier.
End of cash compensation for minor whiplash claims
People who suffer minor whiplash injuries will no longer have the right to claim cash compensation but those who suffer serious whiplash injuries will still be able to claim.
The move aims to make it harder for people to claim compensation for exaggerated or fraudulent whiplash claims. The Government expects this to save insurers around £1bn which could cut the cost of motor insurance for drivers by between £40 and £50 a year.
More injuries will also be able to go to the small claims court as the upper limit for these claims will be increased from £1,000 to £5,000.
New free childcare rules
The government plans to double the amount of free childcare available to working families with three and four years old to 30 hours a week from September 2017. But this will only now be available to parents who work more than 16 hours a week and who each earn £100,000 or less.