Tuesday, 22 November 2016


The Treasury has released details of half a dozen of the more popular measures to be announced in the Autumn Statement this afternoon (23 November). Here are three.

Reduction of the Universal Credit taper rate from 65% to 63%. This is the deduction from Universal credit for every extra £1 earned. For those who also claim council tax support in most areas the taper will reduce from 72% to 70%. For those who also pay National Insurance and Tax the taper will fall from 81% to 80%. In other words those people will keep 20p in every pound earned rather than 19p. The Treasury says this will "increase work incentives" for 3 million families. As if being poor wasn't enough of an incentive. 

Benefit specialists say this will be a small improvement but will not offset the cost of the loss of the amount they can earn before their benefit is cut which happened in April. The change will probably happen in April 2017.

Banning letting agent’s fees in England. This measure will help 4.3 million tenants in private rented housing. Agent's fees, which have to be paid upfront, average £337 according to Citizen's Advice. Shelter has found that 1 in 7 pay more than £500. 

Housing specialists say that agents will simply make landlords pay the cost and landlords will simply pass the cost to tenants through higher rents. Housing Minister Gavin Barwell has opposed this move in the past, tweeting in September "Bad idea - landlords would pass cost to tenants via rent. We're looking at other ways to cut upfront costs & raise standards". Which is slightly embarrassing.

No date for the change has been announced.

Increasing the National Living Wage to £7.50 an hour from April 2017. The National Living Wage rate of the National Minimum Wage was fixed at £7.20 in April 2016, There will also be more money spent to enforce the National Minimum Wage.

This 4.17% rise will keep it well below the Living Wage as assessed by the Living Wage Foundation. It puts that at £9.75 in London and £8.45 an hour in the rest of the UK. Someone earning £7.50 an hour for 40 hours a week will lose 82p an hour to tax and National Insurance (using announced or predicted thresholds). 

The new language
The statement strings together the new Government's buzz phrases increasing fairness" "an economy that works for everyone" "help people’s money go further" "those who are struggling to get by" "ordinary working class people" and "a country that works for everyone". 

The Chancellor will make his Autumn Statement at 1230 on 23 November 2016.

23 November 2016
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