Following the very last Spring Budget delivered earlier this year, the Chancellor Philip Hammond is set to provide his second budget of 2017—and the first to be delivered in the new Autumn slot—on 22nd November. Mr. Hammond’s speech will follow his less-than-impressive performance at the Conservative Party Conference at the start of October, as well as providing the first major set of financial plans from Theresa May’s government, following her ill-judged gamble to call a snap election in June this year.
So, what can we expect from the Chancellor when he delivers the Autumn Budget next week? Rumours suggest that this is likely to be a ‘bold’ budget which the Tories hope will attract younger voters to the party. Whilst the government has perhaps already begun trying to do this through the recent freezing of tuition fees at £9,250 and raising the threshold at which student loans begin to be repaid to £25,000, it’s likely that the budget will outline further reforms which offer incentives for graduates.
Pensions have also been widely forecast to feature significantly in this budget. As the government has pledged to uphold the triple lock on the state pension—meaning that pensions rise in line with earnings, inflation, or by 2.5%, whichever is the highest—many have predicted that pension tax relief will be targeted on 22nd November. It has been put forward that the Chancellor may be planning to reveal a move from the current system of 20% tax relief for basic rate taxpayers and 40% for those on the higher rate, to a new flat rate for all. Some think this may be set at 20%, whilst others have forecast a higher 33% rate, a move which would see those on middle incomes hit the hardest.
Other areas expected to feature in the first Autumn Budget include corporation tax, stamp duty and further reforms to tax and national insurance contributions for the self-employed. We’ll have to wait until next week of course to see exactly what Philip Hammond has planned in his effort to reassert his presently somewhat insecure position as Chancellor.
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