Autumn Statement 2011- win, lose or draw?
All eyes were on the Chancellor yesterday as he delivered his Autumn Statement to the nation. Alongside gloomy, if not quite recession making economic predictions from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), there are winners and losers from the changes announced, although official figures that show the burden on taxpayers actually increased by 9.5% in the year to April, you could say that we are all losers in the long run.
Still, as Brian said, it’s always better to look on the bright side, and you might be pleased after yesterday’s news if:
You have already retired- the "triple lock" system means that the basic state pension will rise by £5.30 to £107.45 a week in April- one good thing that has come out of high inflation rates. The pension credit will also be increased by £5.35
You drive- the scheduled 3p fuel duty increase in January has been scrapped and the 5% increase due in August 2012 has been capped at 2p. This will apparently save an average family £144 a year, or without the PR spin, will mean we will only be paying a bit more to do exactly the same amount of driving next year, rather than a lot more.
You catch the train- in addition to money being found for rail infrastructure improvements, increases in rail fares will be capped at 1% + RPI inflation rather than the current 3% plus RPI. However, given RPI is over 5%, this is still an increase of over 6% when earnings are not keeping pace.
You are thinking of having a baby- at the moment, all three and four-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours of nursery education for 38 weeks of the year. The scheme will now be extended to about 260,000 ‘disadvantaged’ two-year-olds, some 40% of those eligible by 2014/15
You are on benefits- similar to the State Pension, most benefits will also increase by 5.2% in line with September’s inflation measure, meaning for example the child element in the child tax credit will rise by £135 a year in 2012/13. However, the planned £110 above-inflation increase planned for next year will now not go ahead. Not that politicians are going back on their word because of high inflation or anything.
But what if you walk to work and haven’t got a girlfriend? You might not be so happy if:
You are a public sector worker- many of them will be freezing their bottoms off standing outside waving placards today, and the Chancellor’s ‘reminder’ that their pensions are more generous than many people in the private sector can expect, coupled with his further announcement that after their current pay freeze ends their maximum pay rise will be halved to 1% a year was unlikely to improve their mood or dim their motivation for strike action.
You were born after 1960- everyone born after 1960 will have to work longer before receiving their State pension, with the increase to age 67 being brought forward. Today’s Metro cartoonist likened reaching State Pension age to finding the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. We’ll let you know if we ever get there.
You work for a small business- employers with fewer than 10 staff will find it easier to hire and fire employees, after the planned introduction of “no fault dismissal” procedures . Yes, they will be able to just sack you for no reason. All in the name of improving the economy.
You are rich enough to have investments- on top of last year’s whopping 10% rate increase in Capital Gains Tax (CGT) for higher rate taxpayers, which raised an additional £1.1bn for the Treasury, the annual exempt amount of £10,600 will remain frozen for next year.