What the Autumn Statement 2016 means for tradesmen

Today’s Autumn Statement was the first for Chancellor Philip Hammond – and also the last, as he announced the speech has been abolished and, going forward, we will have only one round of tax changes each year.

The statement included a number of key points for tradesmen. Here’s what you need to know.

State of the economy

The economy is expcted to have grown by 2.1 per cent by the end of the year, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility. However, 2017 is forcast to be slower, with only 1.4 per cent growth, and 1.7 per cent in 2018.

All the forecasts suggest a slower rate of growth than previous predictions, which the OBR says is likely caused by continued uncertainty after the EU referendum.

While this may not seem positive, Britian appears to have a higher growth rate than other major EU economies. The Chancellor pointed out that medium term forecasts suggest we’re growing faster than both Germany and France.

Fuel duty

The Chancellor announced that the fuel duty increase will be postponed for the seventh year running, in an effort to combat both rising oil prices and the fall in value of the pound.

He claims this will save the average van driver £350 a year, and the average car driver £130.

Motor insurance

Hammond also announced new measures to cut the cost of motor insurance. He said that there will be a crackdown on spurious whiplash claims, in what he said will save the average policyholder £40 a year.

However, at the same time he announced an increase in insurance tax, meaning that some of these savings may be offset.

Tax

By the next general election the tax free personal allowance will have rises to £12,500, and the higher rate threshold to £50,000. Above that, personal allowance will rise in line with inflaction, at least.

Corporation tax will fall to 17 per cent, in line with the government’s existing plans. It will also implement the business rates reduction package, which may help tradesmen who operate from a business premises.

The Chancellor signaled a crackdown on “inappropriate use” of the VAT flat rate scheme, although he did not explain what form this may take.

Housebuilding

Tradesmen may receive a boost through new measures aimed at increasing the number of homes being built.

The Chancellor announced a new £2.3 billion ‘housing infrastructure fund’. It is thought that this will help build up to 100,000 new homes in areas where demand is high.

He also announced a further £1.4 billion to help build an extra 40,000 affordable homes.

What do you think of the Autumn Statement? Will it help you? Let us know in the comments.

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