Following the budget in July, the first by a Conservative government in two decades, Chancellor George Osborne has now delivered his Autumn Statement, setting out the continuation of the government’s agenda to help balance the books and boost productivity and growth.
Stamp duty land tax (SDLT) Higher rates of stamp duty land tax will be charged on purchases of additional residential properties (above £40,000), such as buy to let properties and second homes, from 1 April 2016. The higher rates will be three percentage points above the current rates.
The higher rates will not apply to purchases of caravans, mobile homes or houseboats, or to corporates or funds making significant investments in residential property. There will be consultation on the policy detail, which will include whether it is appropriate to have exemptions for corporates and funds owing more than 15 residential properties.
George Osborne “Frankly, people buying a home to let should not be squeezing out families who can’t afford a home to buy”.
Apprenticeship levy The rate of the new apprenticeship levy, due to begin in April 2017, will be 0.5% of the employer’s payroll. Every employer will receive an offsetting allowance of £15,000, so that only employers with a payroll of over £3m will pay anything.
Tax credits The proposed changes to tax credits, rejected by the House of Lords in October, have been removed at a cost of £3.4bn in 2016/2017.
Pensions The dates for the contribution rate increases under auto-enrolment will be pushed back six months to align them with tax years. The rate for the new single tier state pension, due to start next April, was set at £155.65 a week.
In the absence of inflation, the ISA limits will remain at their 2015/2016 levels.
Venture capital schemes All energy generation activities that have not previously been removed from eligibility will be excluded from the venture capital schemes from 6 April 2016.
Tax avoidance and evasion Several measures to counter tax avoidance and evasion were announced, including a number targeted at offshore activities.