7 ways the Autumn Statement might actually affect your life
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Philip Hammond has presented his first Autumn Statement as Chancellor of the Exchequer. People were understandably keen to hear what he had to say as it was Hammond’s first chance to address the economic uncertainty facing the country post-Brexit. In his opening remarks, he said that he wants to “build an economy that works for everyone”. Central to Hammond’s statement was helping the “Jams”, the funky new Whitehall acronym for the “just about managing” people. Theresa May said before the announcement: “This is an Autumn Statement which will deliver on the Government’s commitment to build an economy which works for everyone and sets the economy on the right path for the long-term.” That’s all very well and good and, of course, there are wider economic implications, but let’s pause for a moment and be selfish. How will the Autumn Statement actually affect your life? We’ve picked out the top seven ways it might have a real impact.
1. Renting will become easierRenting is already an expensive and hellish experience, full of dodgy landlords and steep bills. However, Hammond is scrapping the letting agency fee to make life a bit easier for the 4.3 million families in private rented accommodation. This seems like good news, because when you’re paying a deposit and a month’s rent up front, the last thing your poor wallet needs is an extra charge. Most people are indeed pleased by the move. But others aren’t so convinced.
2. More affordable housing will become availableHammond unveiled the new £2.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund to deliver infrastructure for up to 100,000 new homes in high-demand areas and £1.4 billion made available to deliver 40,000 additional affordable homes.
3. Your wage might go upThe National Living Wage will rise to £7.50 an hour from April 2017, which is a 4% hike in the minimum wage for over-25s. That’s an over £500 a year increase for full-time workers, which is not something to be sneezed at. While this brings it closer to the Government’s 2020 target of more than £9 an hour, it’s still well below the independently calculated Living Wage of £8.45 across the UK and £9.75 in London. People were pleased by this aspect of the statement.
4. Transport will get a bit better
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5. You might save some money on your car insuranceHammond promises to end the culture around whiplash claims and insurance fraud, which he claims will save drivers an average of £40 on their insurance premiums.
6. Your work might no longer offer benefits like gym membershipsTax savings on salary sacrifice and benefits in kind are to be stopped, with exceptions for ultra-low emission cars, pensions, childcare and cycling.
7. Good news for Austen fansThis one’s perhaps a little tenuous and will only affect a few of you. Hammond is stepping in to save Wentworth Woodhouse, a stately home near Rotherham said to be the inspiration for Pemberley in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”. He’s allotting a £7.6 million grant towards urgent repairs “to safeguard this key piece of Northern heritage”. Reactions to this part of his announcement were mixed. However, some people couldn’t focus on economics during Hammond’s speech and instead had something else on their minds. But perhaps the biggest magic trick that Hammond pulled off in his first Autumn Statement was by making it his last. Yep, he’s abolishing the Autumn Statement and moving the main budget statement from the spring to the autumn. Sob – that was the last we’ll ever hear.
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