Live blog: 2015 Autumn Statement

Live blog: 2015 Autumn StatementChancellor George Osborne is presenting his Autumn Statement to the House of Commons at 12.30pm on Wednesday 25th November 2015.

This Autumn Statement will also coincide with the publication of a Spending Review which determines how £4 trillion of taxpayers’ money will be spent on government departments and public services like the NHS and schools.

Live blog coverage from Martin Bamford, Shelley McCarthy and Andy Bodman of Informed Choice.

13:38 – George Osborne takes his seat after delivering his Autumn Statement and Spending Review. Our Briefing Note will be published later today with an explanation of the main personal finance measures.

13:36 – There will be no cuts in the policing budget, with real terms protection for police funding.

13:32 – New rates of stamp duty, 3% higher, introduced from April 2016 on buy-to-let property and second homes raising an extra £1bn.

13:31 – New scheme launched called London Help To Buy, for home buyers with a 5% able to get government assistance of up to 40% of purchase price.

13:31 – Further reforms to planning system designed to deliver more homes, more quickly. Unused commercial land redesignated for smarter homes.

13:30 – “In this Spending Review, we choose to build.” Osborne talks about the growing crisis of home ownership in this country, especially for younger people. Housing budget is doubled to £2bn a year with 400,000 affordable new homes (rent and buy) by the end of the decade, the biggest government housebuilding programme since the 1970s. Many of the restrictions on shared ownership removed.

13:26 – Apprenticeship levy set at 0.5%, with a £15,000 allowance, so only employers will salary bills over £3m will contribute to this scheme. This will fund 3 million apprenticeships.

13:23 – Big reform to schools, with local authorities running schools becoming ‘a thing of the past’. This could mean that all schools, and now sixth-form colleges too, become academies in the future.

13:22 – Funding for free infant school means is maintained. 500 new free schools and technical colleges will be opened. National Citizen Service is expanded so 300,000 students receive funding for this scheme.

13:21 – From 2017, 30 hours of free childcare will be funded for families of 3 and 4 year olds, only available to parents working more than 16 hours a week and with incomes under £100,000 a year. Funding for nurseries increased by £300m.

13:20 – Rather than categorising tampons from luxuries to essential goods, Osborne will be spending £15m of that tax on women’s charities.

13:14 – 600,000 smallest businesses helped with extension of small business rate relief scheme for another year.

13:11 – £2bn committed to protection of homes from flooding. £50 will continue to be knocked off the water bills of South West Water, due to the contribution they make to national water supply.

13:04 – Uniform business rate will be abolished, councils will have the power to cut rates and make their area more attractive to businesses.

13:03 – Full rate for new single tier state pension (for new pensioners) set at £155.65 a week when it is introduced next April.

13:02 – Pension auto enrolment contribution rate rises will be aligned with tax years. Triple-lock on state pension increases is maintained. Basic state pension will rise to £119.30 a week next year, biggest real terms increase in 15 years.

13:00 – Osborne confronts reality of social care funding strain on local authorities. Local authorities will be able to levy a new social care precept on council tax, which must be spent exclusively on adult social care. This could bring an extra £2bn into the local authority social care budget.

12:59 – Extra spending commitment for NHS includes a new dementia institute in Harlow and goal for a seven day a week National Health Service.

12:56 – Ambition to create a modern integrated health and social care system, to support people at every stage of their lives.

12:55 – Government departments face spending cuts of an average 0.8% a year in real terms. The cuts announced in this Spending Review seem lower than those already experienced over the past five years.

12:54 – State currently accounts for just under 40% of national income, forecast to fall to 35% after this Spending Review. Public spending will be £756bn this year, rising to £821bn in 2019/20. After that, forecast public spending rises broadly in line with growth in the economy.

12:52 – Now for George Osborne’s plans on public expenditure and taxation. New penalties for the general anti-abuse rule, disguised remuneration and stamp duty avoidance. HMRC are making efficiencies of 18% in their own budget, with £800m reinvested in fight against tax evasion which is expected to have a ten times return. Every individual and small business with have their own online tax account by the end of the decade.

12:47 – HM Treasury will borrow £8bn less than previously expected, “fixing the roof while the sun is shining” and spend £12bn on capital investments. Improved public finances allow help on tax credits while still reaching the surplus target on time. Changes to tax credits will not be introduced, with George Osborne backtracking nicely on his previous proposals.

12:44 – OBR forecasts for debt and deficits now includes borrowing from Housing Associations, resulting in a recalculation of previous forecasts. Debt is now forecast to be lower than in July, at 82.5% and is forecast to fall every year down to 71.3% in 2020/21. It is forecast the national debt as a share of national income will fall in every year. This is because of stronger tax receipts and lower debt interest payments.

12:41 – OBR expects one million extra jobs to be created over the next five years.

12:40 – Economic growth is forecast at 2.4% in 2015, 2.4% in 2016, 2.5% in 2017. That’s an upwards revision for this year.

12:39 – No economy in G7 has grown faster than Britain since 2010. Latest projections from the Office for Budget Responsibility shown a downward revision to world growth, due to eurozone weakness and debts in emerging economies.

12:37 – “This is a big Spending Review from a government that does big things.”

12:35 – Spending Review is described as protecting our economic and national security. George Osborne has already referred to ‘taking difficult decisions’, one of his favourite phrases.

12:34 – And so it begins!

12:11 – David Cameron confirms the Autumn Statement will include more money for women’s charities, which is particularly relevant on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

11:51 – George Osborne is on his way to the House of Commons, speech in hand. We’ve got Prime Minster’s Questions coming up first, at midday.

10:23 – A tweet from George Osborne sets the scene for later today:

10:11 – Pound Sterling has fallen to a two-week low against the euro and US dollar, on the expectation that further spending cuts will delay interest rate rises for even longer.

09:02 – Something we are all looking out for today is whether the Chancellor will perform a ‘tactical retreat’ over his defeated plans to cut tax credits. BBC political correspondent John Pienaar believes the cuts will be softened, but we could see other deep cuts applied to welfare spending, including housing benefit.

07:56 – Leaks or speculation? The FT are reporting that entrepreneurs’ relief for capital gains tax is under threat in the Autumn Statement today. This tax relief for business owners reduces capital gains tax from 28% to 10% on a lifetime limit of £10m of business gains. It costs the Treasury around £2.9bn a year, making it an attractive target.

07:47 – How deep are the Spending Review cuts announced today likely to be? Osborne is expected to make £20bn of cuts to departmental budgets and a further £12bn of cuts to welfare spending. It’s also been reported that he will pledge £7bn to housebuilding, in order to create an additional 400,000 affordable homes in England.

07:43 – It’s Autumn Statement and Spending Review day! This story caught our eye first thing; the UK’s biggest care home operator, Four Seasons, is closing 7 of its loss-making residential care homes and also written to Chancellor George Osborne warning that extra care costs would mean “thousands of older people could be left without a home”. Will Osborne provide some additional support for the struggling social care sector today?



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